Tomotherapy is a type of image-guided Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT). It combines a CT imaging scanner and a linear accelerator — a type of machine that delivers radiation beams. Unlike conventional EBRT systems, the radiation is delivered slice-by-slice rather than irradiating the entire tumor at one time. Tomotherapy targets and shapes the radiation to the tumor, destroying or shrinking it over time with minimum damage to surrounding healthy tissue.
Tomotherapy begins with a simulation, just like the other external radiation therapy technologies. Once the initial CT or PET/CT scans are complete, your Radiation Oncologist will determine the total dose of radiation that you are to receive.
The system’s powerful computer will then calculate the number and intensity of thousands of tiny radiation “beamlets” for your specific treatment plan.
The main difference between Tomotherapy and traditional IMRT is that Tomotherapy integrates the CT scanner with the IMRT radiation delivery in a single system. The integrated CT scanner is used at each treatment session to ensure that you are correctly positioned on the treatment table and your tumor is precisely targeted.
The radiation “beamlets” are delivered from any point on a 360º circle around the body and precisely sculpt the radiation around the tumor. This effectively treats the disease while minimizing damage to surrounding healthy tissue.
If your Radiation Oncologist recommends Tomotherapy, your 21st Century Oncology team will begin each session by taking a new, three dimensional CT scan of your tumor. This imaging will then be used by your Radiation Therapist to precisely position you on the treatment table. The session, including the CT scan, will only take 10-20 minutes. Typically, you will be scheduled for five sessions a week for five to eight weeks. Tomotherapy is pain-free and requires no sedation so you can get back to your normal schedule right away.