External beam radiation therapy utilizes a linear accelerator to generate a radiation beam toward the desired treatment area.
Treatment planning and delivery techniques such as 3-D conformal planning and intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), can be utilized to conform the dose of radiation to the planned treatment area. This allows higher doses to be administered to desired treatment areas and reduces the risk of exposure to surrounding normal tissues. Both techniques allow for better control of the radiation beam to the tumor with reduced side effects. TUCC also offers patients a more advanced form of IMRT, volumetric arc therapy (VMAT), on the Versa HD. With conventional IMRT, the linear accelerator must rotate around the patient a few times to treat the cancerous tumor from several different angles. In contrast, VMAT delivers the radiation dose to the entire tumor in a 360-degree rotation within minutes. The prostate can change position depending on the volumes of the bladder and rectum. With image guided radiation therapy (IGRT), metallic markers are inserted into the prostate so that their position can be visualized on a daily basis. Daily assessment of the markers and subsequent adjustments enable therapists to deliver more accurate radiation treatments. This reduces the risk of radiation exposure to normal tissues and side effects.