• 4/F., Champion Tower, 3 Garden Road, Central, Hong Kong
  • Unit. 1908-09, 19/F, Mira Place Tower A, 132 Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui

Radiotherapy is a treatment where radiation is used to kill cancer cells. It works by causing damage to the DNA of cancerous cells. This clinic offers state-of-the-art radiotherapy including TomoTherapy and Y-90 radioembolization to effectively treat various kinds of cancer with low side effects based on the patient’s specific needs; opening new horizons for radiotherapy.

 

The following is information on the side effects and radiotherapy application, the latest radiotherapy technology and the radiotherapy offered in this clinic.

Conventional Radiotherapy side effects

Conventional radiotherapy tends to cover a larger radiation field with less precise delivery of the radiation dose to the targeted tumour area and therefore tends to cause damage to healthy cells and tissues in the vicinity, leading to side effects. In general, common side effects of conventional radiotherapy will include:

Short-term side effects of radiation therapy

  • Reduced saliva leading to dry mouth and taste changes
  • Loss of appetite
  • Inflammation of mouth, throat or oesophagus
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Hoarseness with voice box involvement
  • Skin problems such as red, dryness, peeling and ulcers
  • Hair loss at the radiated area
  • External and middle ear inflammation

Long-term side effects of radiation therapy

  • Long-term dry mouth with increased risk of of teeth and gum infections
  • Damage to nasal mucosa that can cause nosebleeds
  • Hardening of the soft tissues in the neck that leads to stiffness
  • Skin dryness and colour changes
  • Damage to the top of the lungs with no apparent symptoms
  • Tinnitus, chronic middle ear inflammation or hearing loss
  • Stiffness in the bones of the jaw
  • Hoarseness with voice box involvement
  • Reduced thyroid activity and the production of extraneous hormones

Is Radiotherapy compulsory for cancer patients?

Radiotherapy has different uses according to the stage of the cancer treatment and can be used as the main treatment, or together with another treatment or even as a method of pain relief. The majority of cancer patients are treated with radiotherapy following their surgery to kill off any remaining cancer cells and to reduce the risk of recurrence whilst improving their survival rate. In addition, some cancer patients may require radiotherapy before surgery so as to shrink the tumour and improve the success rate of the surgery plus lower the chance of post-operative infection. After radiotherapy, patients with inoperable cancers may be able to undergo surgical resection to remove their cancer.

Reduced Radiotherapy side effects | TomoTherapy

TomoTherapy’s image-guided radiation therapy performs image scans on the patients before every treatment for higher precision. In addition, intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) enables 360-degree precise radiation beam delivery to the area of the cancer, allowing the cancer patient to receive higher, more effective doses of radiation while limiting the damage to the healthy tissues and organs surrounding it. TomoTherapy also uses ELEKTA Versa HD™ Linear Accelerator, improving precision and reducing treatment time. The features include:

  • 4D Image Guidance – reduces the chances of inaccurately locating the tumour affected by movements such as breathing
  • 6D Patient Positioning Platform- six rotational directions for finer targeting
  • Agility™ 160-leaf MLC- allows conformal shaping of radiation beams to the patient’s tumour
  • Volumetric modulated arc therapy (VMAT)-offers arc-shaped rotation treatments

Reduce Radiotherapy side effects | Selective Internal Radiation Therapy with Yttrium-90 (Y90) Microspheres

The latest Selective Internal Radiation Therapy (SIRT) with Yttrium-90 (Y90) Microspheres is a medical breakthrough in radiotherapy applications for liver cancer. It particularly benefits liver cancer patients with mid to advanced stage cancers who do not have as many choices for their treatment. Y-90 radioembolization makes use of the body’s own circulation to distribute radioactive microspheres directly to the tumour site via a catheter inserted into the liver which utilises β radiation from a distance of only 0.25 cm to kill the tumour cells. Compared with external radiotherapy, it incurs fewer side-effects and includes the following advantages:

More effective

According to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) of the UK, Y-90 radioembolisation is an alternative to conventional treatment options such as TACE and targeted therapy. In the ENRY study, a prospective European multicenter trial of Y-90 resin SIRT in 325 patients with unresectable HCC, the median OS was 12.8 months.

Fewer side effects

The Y-90 microspheres are lodged in the micro-vessels of liver tumor where they have a local radiation effect, with the maximum range of beta ray’s penetration in tissue being only 11 mm with a mean of 2.5 mm, limiting the damage to healthy tissue in surrounding areas. In addition, malignant liver tumors larger than 2 cm usually derive about 80% of their blood supply from the hepatic artery while the healthy liver tissue receives most of its blood supply from the portal veins. As a result, injection through the hepatic artery permits the selective targeting of yttrium-90 microspheres to tumor cells.

Efficient Procedure

The procedure usually takes only about 1-2 hours. However, patients are advised to stay in the isolation room and avoid close contacts with pregnant women or young children until the radiation dose from their body was checked to fall below a safe limit. This may take a few hours up to a few days after the treatment, depending on the actual dose they received.

Not all patients are suitable for SIRT using Y90 microspheres. Patients are required to undergo diagnostic tests to access their liver function and spread of cancer cells to determine whether they are suitable for the treatment.

“3-day treatment initiation” promise

  • INNOVATIVE RADIOTHERAPY STRATEGY | SEAMLESS PROCEDURE DESIGN

Cancer treatment needs to start early. Transformation in radiotherapy procedural design is necessary, as a smooth treatment procedure in all aspects allows patients to start their radiotherapy treatment earlier while improving the accuracy of the treatment and reducing the side effects experienced within radiation therapy. This clinic institutes five different seamless radiotherapy procedural designs and allows us to deliver a “3-day treatment initiation” promise to all our patients.

One-stop holistic service with a professional medical team

The radiotherapy team is led by medical physicists and adopts advanced radiotherapy planning software that allows efficient planning on a 24/7 schedule.

Personalized radiotherapy treatment planning

Unique Hong Kong Adventist Oncology Center facilities for personalized radiotherapy treatment to enhance the precision of treatment and optimize treatment results while reducing the impact on healthy tissues as well as minimizing side-effects. The advanced 4D image guidance technology allows for greater accuracy of the radiation beam to the tumour by measuring the patient’s lung activity whilst thye’re breathing.

Integrated approach

Integrating all the equipment from radiotherapy and medical physics within one department enhances efficiency and reduces patient waiting times; assisting us with adhering to our commitment of commencing treatment within three days.

Higher precision

Via the use of advanced radiotherapy instrumentation, including TomoTherapy, ELEKTA Versa HD™ Linear Accelerator, 4D image guidance, 6D patient treatment bed, Y-90 Radioembolisation and more.

A one-on-one patient care coordinator

Every patient is assigned a health care coordinator who is responsible for all the administrative aspects of their patient care which enables the patient to get on with their treatments with one less worry.

References:

  1. Hong Kong anti-cancer society: radiation therapy radiation therapy side effects and care
    https://www.hkacs.org.hk/ufiles/Radiotherapy.pdf