These days, most patients are still treated using the linear accelerator.
The advantages of the linear accelerator
The main advantage of this technology is that larger volumes can be included and treated. A malignant tumour is known as cancer. Tumour cells from the main mass (lump which can be felt or seen in the CT/MRI scan) grow outwards into the surrounding tissue. They are also capable penetrating vessels and, for example, developing further within the lymph vessels. In this way, lymph nodes in the area around the tumour are also affected.
As a cure is only possible when all the tumour cells in the body are destroyed, it is often the case that much more than just the visible lump has to be treated. In such instances, the linear accelerator is superior to all other radiotherapy equipment.
The key advantages are:
- Targeted radiation, also of larger volumes
- Tried-and-tested over many years
- Can be combined with other forms of therapy such as chemotherapy (the benefits of this for certain tumours is now undisputed)