Surface-guided radiation therapy
What is SGRT?
Surface guided radiotherapy (SGRT) is an external beam radiation therapy technique which uses three-dimensional camera technology to accurately target and kill cancer cells. During treatment, the surface of your body is tracked in real time and monitors the position of your tumor to ensure it is precisely targeted. If your body moves out of the ideal position, the SGRT treatment will automatically pause and protect your healthy tissues from radiation.
Unlike some other forms of radiation therapy, SGRT means you can receive radiation therapy with submillimeter accuracy without the need to have any permanent markings (tattoos) made on your body.
We frequently use SGRT to treat cancers that are next to important organs. For example, SGRT is particularly useful in the treatment of left-side breast cancers that are close to the heart, enabling a technique called deep inspiration breath hold (DIBH).
How does SGRT work?
Before SGRT, you’ll need to undergo a CT scan to help us determine your personalized treatment plan. Your radiation therapy team will take an imaging scan to create a detailed view of your tumor and surrounding organs to establish the exact shape, size and location of your tumor. The scans will then be sent to the SGRT system to be used during your treatment.
SGRT is given on a machine known as a linear accelerator (or linac). For your treatment, your radiographers will ask you to lie in the same position as your CT scan. They may reposition you so your tumor is correctly targeted.
The radiation is precisely targeted at your tumor. The SGRT system will continuously monitor the position of your body during your treatment session to ensure that the radiation is always delivered to your cancer. If your tumor slightly moves outside the field of radiation, the SGRT system will automatically stop. This means your treatment area receives the maximum dose of radiation therapy, whereas the surrounding healthy tissue receives a much lower dose. SGRT ensures the risk of side effects are minimized because of accidental movements.
You shouldn’t experience any pain during your procedure, however, you may find that you have some tiredness afterwards.
We know that it can be tough to fit regular appointments into your busy life. So, we’ll do our best to arrange your appointment times to suit your schedule. Our convenient treatment locations mean you can access world-class cancer care close to home, so you can focus on your life and doing the things you love, while we focus on treating your cancer.
With SGRT, you’ll have a more convenient and comfortable treatment experience than conventional radiotherapy, including:
- Tattoo-free treatments – without SGRT, permanent tattoos are needed to help position you for each treatment session. Although these may not bother everyone, they can be an unwelcome reminder of your treatment
- Reduced time to set up and deliver your treatment – meaning you spend less time at the center and can spend more time doing the things that you love instead
What is deep inspiration breath hold?
SGRT enables a technique called deep inspiration breath hold (DIBH) for the treatment of cancers that are in the left breast or chest wall, so that radiation to the heart is minimized.
During DIBH, your radiographer will ask you to take a deep breath and hold it for 20 seconds. We’ll deliver the radiation while you’re holding in your breath. When your lungs are filled with air, a bigger space is created between your heart and the radiation dose. You’ll only need to do this a couple of times during each treatment session.
With DIBH, radiation is only delivered when you are completely still. You’re in control of the process. When you breathe and your body moves, the treatment automatically pauses.