Conformal Radiation Therapy Abroad
Conformal radiation therapy, 3D or Conformational Radiation Therapy is a procedure that uses computers to create a 3-dimensional picture of the tumor in order to target it as accurately as possible and give it the highest possible dose of radiation, at the same time sparing normal tissue as much as possible.
Conventional radiation therapy directs x-rays not only at the tumor but also unavoidably at nearby healthy tissue. Conformal radiation was developed to deliver a higher dose of radiation to the cancer cells without causing so much damage to surrounding tissues. Conformal radiation is used to treat many cancers. It is especially useful if the tumor is close to important organs or body structures because high doses of radiation can be given with little risk to healthy tissue.
Types of Conformal Radiation Therapy
There are 2 main types of conformal radiation therapy:
3-D CRT delivers shaped radiation beams aimed from several different directions at the tumor and the radiation beams are all the same strength.
IMRT is a way of giving conformal radiation therapy in a targeted way, with the beam strength varying across the treatment area. The tumor receives radiation from a series of small beams of different strengths. IMRT shapes the treatment beams very precisely and allows the dose of radiation to be adjusted for different parts of the treatment area.
CT Scans or MRI are used to create a precise 3D image of the tumor. The exact shape of the tumor is programmed into a computer and used to plan the radiation treatment. The computer model of the tumor is used to set the multi-leaf collimators so the radiation beams match its shape.
The same type of machine used for regular radiotherapy treatment is combined with a specialized device called a multi-leaf collimator, which is made up of metal bars fixed to the radiotherapy machine. The bars block the radiation beams to change the shape of the area being treated, with each bar being adjusted so that the radiation beams conform to the shape and size of the tumor.
Conformal radiation may also aim the radiation beams from several directions to better target the tumor and spare more of the nearby structures than conventional radiation therapy.
Benefits of Conformal Radiation Therapy
The purpose of Conformal radiation therapy is to destroy cancer cells while causing as little damage as possible to normal cells. It can be used to treat many kinds of cancer in almost any part of the body.
Conformal radiation therapy may be given before surgery to shrink a tumor or after surgery in order to prevent the regrowth of cancer cells that may remain. It can also be given before, during or after chemotherapy or hormone treatment to improve overall results.
Used as a palliative treatment it aims to shrink tumors and reduce pain or relieve other cancer symptoms. Palliative radiotherapy may also prolong life.
How much does it cost?
The cost for Conformal radiation therapy depends on where the cancer is located, the type of cancer, the cancer stage and how many sessions you need. Prices may vary from $15,000 to $60,000 or even more in the US. In countries such as India, Ukraine, Mexico or Thailand prices are much lower and could drop to $5,000 - $8,000 for a course of treatment or even less.
The costs for a IMRT treatment in the United States may range up to $100,000, but also depends on the number of sessions the individual requires, as well as how much of those costs are covered by general medical insurance. General costs may average around $50,000 to $60,000, but may not include doctor's charges. However, travelers to locations such as India may save tens of thousands of dollars on the same treatments.
Seeking a cancer specialist
When looking for a doctor to help treat cancer, patients should look for cancer specialists. These specialists are trained in the field of oncology. Patients should look for experience, training, and board-certification in specific areas of medicine. It's important to find a doctor who specializes in the type of cancer you've been diagnosed with. Make sure that the facilities they work in are accredited.
If you want to find out more about Conformal Radiation Therapy, please contact us!
Cancer Treatment Abroad, Breast Cancer, Lung Cancer