Tomotherapy is a type of intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT). It combines the technologies of a CT scanner and a linear accelerator machine to provide three dimensional (3D) images that help to accurately target a tumor.
Unlike conventional external beam radiation therapy systems, the radiation is delivered layer-by-layer rather than irradiating the entire tumor at one time. Creating a 3D image of the tumor means we can target the radiation beams precisely to the tumor and avoid healthy tissues. We adjust the treatment to the size, shape and location of the treatment area.
The main difference between tomotherapy and traditional IMRT is that tomotherapy integrates the CT scanner with the IMRT radiation delivery into a single system. At each of your treatment sessions, your radiographer will scan you to help us ensure that you’re correctly positioned on the treatment table and your tumor is precisely targeted.
How does tomotherapy work
Before your tomotherapy treatment, you’ll need to undergo simulation that helps us determine your personalized treatment plan. Your radiation therapist will take some imaging scans to help calculate the total dose of radiation that you are to receive. This will usually be a CT or PET/CT scan.
Each treatment session will start with your radiographer taking a new imaging scan of your tumor. They will use this image to precisely position you on the treatment table so the treatment is delivered accurately.
When you’re ready, your radiation therapist will use a machine called a linear accelerator (also called a linac) to target your tumor. The machine delivers radiation “beamlets” from any point on a 360º circle around your body, and precisely sculpts the radiation around your tumor. This treats the disease while minimizing damage to surrounding healthy tissue.
The session, including your CT scan, will only take 10-20 minutes. Typically, you’ll be scheduled for five sessions a week, for five to eight weeks. Tomotherapy is pain free and requires no sedation, allowing you to get back to your normal schedule right away.
As with any cancer treatment, you may experience side effects. What you experience is often dependent on the location of the tumor. Your physician will discuss with you the side effects you are likely to experience.
We understand that fitting appointments around your daily activities can be difficult, so we’ll do our best to accommodate 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.