Local tumor control is an essential element in treatment planning for any patient with cancer. Without local control a patient risks the formation of distant metastases and a reduced chance of survival. The location of a tumor and its proximity to radiosensitive structures dictates how well a conventional treatment method can deliver dose to a tumor. The shape of the tumor are irregular mixed with normal tissue. To address this problem, conformal radiotherapy has been developed.
This advanced treatment technique allows uses the concept of "Beam's eye-view" of the tumors by a complex computerized program. Standard radiotherapy planning is completed using two dimensional (2D) x-ray images. In contrast, conformal radiotherapy planning utilizes sophisticated computer technologies such as CT scans and MRI images to view tumors in three dimensions (3D)-width, height and depth. With superior tumor imaging, patient treatment plans can be created with greater precision.
At Stony Brook's Radiation Oncology Department, our team prepares 3D conformal radiotherapy treatments with the state-of-the-art Eclipse treatment planning system. Doctors, dosimetrists and physicists work together to design radiation treatment beams that ‘conform' to the shape of a patient's tumor, thus decreasing radiation to normal tissues and increasing the probability of local tumor control.