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Entering the Fourth Dimension Most cancer tumors are treated with conventional radiation therapy, which delivers small, daily doses for several weeks. But some tumors, especially those in the lung, can get more benefit from stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT). SBRT delivers a single high dose radiation beam or up to five smaller treatments, zeroing in on the tumor from different angles. That sends the radiation to the exact spot where it’s needed and spares healthy tissue. Conventional radiation therapy uses threedimensional mapping to pinpoint where the beam goes, but SBRT adds a fourth
What Is A Medical Dosimetrist?
What Is A Medical Physicist?
A medical dosimetrist calculates radiation dose distributions and writes a treatment plan for radiation therapy. Tumor volume, possible limitations, and other variables factor into the dosimetrist’s calculations.
dimension: time. A lung cancer tumor moves as one breathes, so the radiation must track and hit that moving target. Sometimes this means that gold seeds, called fiducials, are implanted before the tumor is mapped. That is the only invasive part of this non-surgical alternative for patients who cannot have surgery and whose tumors are small and welldefined. In some cases, SBRT may replace surgery as a primary cancer treatment.
A medical physicist knows radiation’s effects on physiological variables, like metabolic rates and blood flow, and contributes that expertise during treatment plan development.
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