How Radiation Therapy Is Fine-Tuned Using Tattoo Marks
Accuracy is very important when it comes to radiation therapy. The bottom line is that those tissues and organs affected by cancer should be the only ones subjected to radiation. This is to minimize the side effects. The treatment process that the APCI developed involves putting three tattoo marks into the patient's skin - one on the left hip, one on the right hip, and one on the front. These marks are used by the attending physician as reference points when coming up with an appropriate treatment plan. To further fine-tune the therapy, scans are done daily on the patient to ensure that the prostate is sitting exactly where it's supposed to be sitting. When the location of the prostate and prostate bed are accurately identified, only then can the radiation therapy commence.
The Three Main Steps In The Radiation Therapy Treatment
Step One: Computed Tomography (CT) Simulation - The patient's pelvic area will be subjected to a comprehensive scan. Using the scan, the doctor determines whether it's the prostate itself or the prostate bed that needs treatment. When the target area is identified, a wall-mounted laser is then used to put three tattoo marks into the patient's skin. These marks show the areas that will be subjected to radiation therapy.
Step Two: Understanding the Scans - For up to a week, the doctor analyzes the scans to establish which organs are going to be exposed to radiation. The doctor will also make approximate measurements on the amount of radiation needed to treat the target areas.
Step Three: The Treatment Planning Computer - The information gathered from the scans and analysis by the doctor are then feed into a computer which uses a program to finalize the treatment plan. This establishes the proper dosage of radiation that can treat the prostate. The program also makes calculations on a dosage that minimizes the exposure of other tissues and organs to the radiation.
This treatment process is currently being used with consistent success by the Advanced Prostate Cancer Institute. For more information about the institute and their treatment services, visit their website at advancedprostatecancerinstitute.com.
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