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External Beam Radiotherapy with ARTISTE Linear Accelerators

External Beam Radiotherapy involves the treatment of cancer from the outside in with X-rays, gamma rays or electron beams. The Avera Cancer Institute is the only site in the U.S. with a perfectly matched pair of one of the most advanced and versatile external beam radiotherapy tools ever created.

First and Only

The first and only ones in the region, our two Siemens ARTISTE linear accelerators are used to deliver high-energy external beam radiation to all parts of the body. Using 160 computer-controlled fast-moving tungsten ‘leaves’, the ARTISTE has the ability to continually adapt the radiation dose to the contours of the tumor being treated. The result is a highly precise radiation treatment with much less damage to healthy surrounding tissues.

Many Treatments – No Waiting

At Avera Cancer Institute, we use our ARTISTE Linear Accelerators for a variety of radiation treatments:

Image Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT)

Image Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT)

Image Guided Radiotherapy (IGRT) is a method for precise delivery of radiation to a part of the body that moves when you breathe, such as the lungs or liver.  IGRT relies on frequent imaging studies throughout a course of radiation treatment.  These allow Radiation Oncologists to monitor the exact location of a tumor during treatment, and make minute adjustments to the treatment plan to ensure that radiation stays in the targeted treatment area.

IGRT may be used in conjunction with Intensity Modulated Radiotherapy (IMRT) or Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy (SBRT).

Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT)

Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT)

Intensity Modulated Radiotherapy (IMRT) allows for unprecedented precision in external beam radiotherapy treatment.

Rather than having a single large radiation beam pass through the body, IMRT divides the radiation into thousands of thin beams and focuses them on the tumor from multiple angles. The intensity and shape of each beam may be adjusted or modulated hundreds of times during each treatment to target the tumor while avoiding healthy tissue. The result is a higher dose of radiation in the tumor, with fewer side effects than conventional radiotherapy techniques.

A Complex Process

The complexity of IMRT relies on many of the Avera Cancer Institute’s most advanced technologies including 3D diagnostic imaging, high-speed computers, treatment planning software and positioning devices.  The computer controlled metal ‘leaves’ inside the ARTISTE Linear Accelerator block and filter individual beams during treatment to optimize its effectiveness and safety.

How Long Does IMRT Take?

Although it depends on things like the size and location of the tumor and the patient’s overall health, most IMRT regimens are administered over four to eight weeks.

IMRT can be used to treat a variety of solid tumors including:

  • Prostate
  • Head and neck
  • Breast
  • Thyroid
  • Lung
  • Gastrointestinal
  • Gynecological

Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy (SBRT)

Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy (SBRT)

Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy is a non-surgical external beam radiation procedure designed to precisely deliver high doses of radiation into solid tumors.  Because it uses multiple tools to ensure even greater precision than other types of radiotherapy, it may be especially helpful in the treatment of tumors in hard to reach areas, those located close to vital organs, or those in organs that tend to move within the body.

How does SBRT work?

Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy combines advanced 3D imaging and localization techniques with a system designed to carefully position and immobilize the patient.  At Avera Cancer Institute, our doctors utilize a sophisticated Body Pro-Lok immobilization system from CIVCO that is both comfortable and highly effective. With the patient perfectly positioned, and an imaging system to monitor any tumor movement, Radiation Oncologists can deliver focused high-energy beams of radiation into even small without harming nearby healthy tissues.

Primary Uses for SBRT:

  • Lung cancer, especially early-stage
  • Metastatic tumors in the liver
  • In development for prostate cancer

Total Body Irradiation

Total Body Irradiation

Total Body Irradiation (TBI) at Avera Cancer Institute is radiotherapy that is given to the entire body.  TBI is often part of the treatment plan for patients with blood related cancers like lymphoma and some leukemias.

The purpose of TBI is twofold: to help destroy cancer cells in the blood, bone marrow or lymphatic system and to prepare the body to accept a stem cell or bone marrow transplant by suppressing the immune system. It is often used as part of a multi-faceted treatment plan that may also include chemotherapy.

How is TBI given?

The goal of TBI is to deliver radiation evenly across the body. In order to minimize the long-term damage to healthy cells, TBI is typically given multiple times a day over the course of several days. Side effects may include:

  • fatigue
  • hair loss
  • nausea or vomiting
  • anemia
  • diarrhea

Having access to two ARTISTE machines gives ACI Radiation Oncologists more flexibility in treatment planning so that patients who need external beam radiation never have to wait long for treatment.