Respiration-gated radiation therapyDecember 13, 2018
According to Dr Manish Chandra, Chief Radio Oncologist at Jupiter Hospital, Thane, gated radiation therapy is an exciting and comparatively new option for treating lung cancer.
“Though the cost is almost 30% more compared to traditional radiation, the local control achieved through this method is much better,” he added.
The higher cost is because of more time spent per patient on the machine for gated radiation. The machine tries to ensure that the tumour is always within the radiation beam even as the tumor moves constantly during the treatment. It takes longer as the procedure is done after preparing the patient using a kind of breath control technique.
Radiation treatment for lung cancer has always been a challenge to radiation oncologists as the target tumour is usually on the move during the treatment as the lung is a constantly moving organ.
Traditionally, a larger area of the lung than strictly required is irradiated to ensure that the tumour is within the radiation beam, affecting the nearby healthy cells.
With the respiration-gated approach, the radiation beam is targeted to a specific point in real time in keeping with the cycle of respiration. Radiation gating helps to reduce the amount of healthy tissues in the lung receiving radiation. Thus a higher dose of radiation can be used at the targeted location. It can also reduce the length of the treatment from as many as six weeks to just two or four.
Chandra added that this method, which is practised by many experienced radio-oncologists in India today, brings new hope to lung cancer patients who are untreatable through surgery or traditional radiation therapy.
Respiration-gated radiation therapy is also being considered for treating other difficult areas such as pancreas cancer or tumours close to the kidneys etc.. The studies for such expansion are underway.