What is 4D radiotherapy?
4D radiotherapy is a treatment that is designed for the treatment and planning of a tumor, in order to be able to follow the movement of the tumor. For this purpose, the radiotherapy system with image acquisition of the patient not only acquires images at a given moment, but also acquires a series of images of the treatment area in the different positions it can adopt. These images can then be used in the planning system to represent the patient’s actual movement.
Why is it performed?
This test is mainly performed for highly mobile lung injuries and only when the patient’s condition allows it.
Usually, irradiation of the tumor is performed when the tumor is in a certain position, avoiding affecting the rest of the healthy tissues.
What does it consist of?
Radiation therapy is the use of x-rays, or some other high-powered particle, to destroy cancer cells. Radiation therapy consists of a specific number of treatments given over a specific period of time.
4D radiation therapy incorporates the three dimensions of the body: anteroposterior, craniocaudal and lateral (3D), plus a fourth dimension that captures movement around the respiratory organs.
Preparation for 4D radiotherapy
Radiotherapy is more precise, thanks to 4D radiotherapy, because the possibility of following the movements of lung tumors, due to respiration, makes it possible to apply the irradiation to the specific point, avoiding damage to other organs.
4D radiotherapy also has many advantages:
- To adjust the treatment the same day the patient is going to receive it.
- To better limit the administration of irradiation to the tumor mass.
- Avoid irradiating neighboring healthy lung tissues.
- The patient has a better chance of being cured.
- It is another step forward on the road to personalized cancer medicine.
However, radiation therapy may also damage or destroy healthy cells. The destruction of these cells can lead to certain side effects that depend on the dose of radiation and the frequency with which the therapy is performed.
External beam radiation may cause changes in the skin, such as hair loss, burning or reddening of the skin, thinning of the skin tissue or even sloughing of the outer layer of skin. Other side effects will depend on the part of the body receiving the radiation.