Radiotherapy is a treatment where radiation is used to kill cancer cells. It works by causing damage to the DNA of cancerous cells. Our clinic offers state-of-the-art radiotherapy including TomoTherapy and Y-90 radioembolization to treat various kinds of cancer effectively with low side effects, and according to the patients’ specific needs, can open new horizons for radiotherapy.
Below is the information about the side effects and application of radiotherapy, the latest radiotherapy technology and radiotherapy offerings in our clinic.
Conventional radiotherapy tends to cover a larger radiation field with less precise delivery of the radiation doses to the targeted area where the tumor is located. Therefore, it tends to cause damage to healthy cells and tissues near the treatment area, leading to side effects. In general, common side effects of conventional radiotherapy include:
- Reduced saliva leading to dry mouth and taste changes
- Loss of appetite
- Inflammation of mouth, throat or esophagus
- Difficulty swallowing
- Hoarseness if the voice box is involved
- Skin problems such as red, dryness, peeling and ulcers
- Hair loss at the radiated area
- Otitis externa and otitis media
1. Long-term dry mouth with increased risks of infections of teeth and gums
2. Damage to mucosa that can cause nosebleeds
3. Hardening of soft tissues in neck that leads to stiffness
4. Skin dryness and color changes
5. Damage to chest without apparent symptoms
6. Tinnitus, chronic otitis media or hearing loss
7. Stiffness in jawbones
8. Hoarseness if the voice box is involved
9. Reduced thyroid’s activity and production of other hormones
Radiotherapy has different uses according to the stages of cancer treatment. It could be used as the main treatment, together with another treatment or as a method of pain relief. A majority of cancer patients are treated with radiotherapy after surgery to kill off any remaining cancer cells, reducing the risk of recurrence and improving survival rates. In addition, some cancer patients might need to use radiotherapy before surgery to shrink the tumor in order to improve the success rate of the surgery and lower the chance of post-operative infections. With radiotherapy, patients with inoperable cancer might be able to undergo surgery.
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 beams delivery to the area of cancer, allowing people with cancer to receive higher, more effective doses of radiation while limiting damage to the healthy tissues and organs around it. TomoTherapy also uses ELEKTA Versa HD Linear Accelerator, improving precision and reducing treatment time. The features include:
1. 4D Image Guidance – reduces the chances of inaccurately locating the tumor affected by movements such as breathing
2. 6D Patient Positioning Platform－ six rotational directions for finer targeting
3. Agility 160-leaf MLC－ allows conformal shaping of radiation beams to the patient’s tumor
4. Volumetric modulated arc therapy (VMAT)－offers arc-shaped rotation treatments
The latest Y-90 radioembolization treatment is a medical breakthrough in radiotherapy for liver cancer. It particularly benefits liver cancer patients with mid to advanced stage cancers who do not have many choices for treatment. Y-90 radioembolization involves injection of microspheres incorporating the radioactive isotope Yttrium-90 directly into the tumor. The microspheres become lodged in the tumor blood vessels where they emit their local radiation that destroys cancer cells in a close distance while reducing side effects. The benefits include:
tumors can be brought under control from 10 to 16 months, while conventional TACE extends to 6 months
Fewer side effects
radioembolization leaves most normal tissues intact, although temporary abdominal pain and nausea might occur which can be alleviated by medications
Same-day hospital discharge
the time for surgery lasts about 1 to 2 hours and patients can be discharged upon surgery
Cancer treatment needs to start early. Transformation in radiotherapy procedure design is necessary, as a smooth treatment procedure of all aspects allows patients to start their radiotherapy treatment early while improving treatment accuracy and reducing side effects during the radiation therapy. Our clinic encompasses five different aspects of a seamless radiotherapy procedure design which allows us to deliver the “3-day treatment activation” promise to all our patients.
01. 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.
02. 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 tumor by measuring the patient’s lung activities while breathing.
03. Integrated approach
Integrating all equipment and efforts of the radiotherapy and medical physics department to enhance efficiency and reduce waiting time, sticking to our commitment of commencing treatment within three days.
04. Higher precision
Advanced radiotherapy instruments are used, including TomoTherapy, ELEKTA Versa HD Linear Accelerator, 4D image guidance, 6D patient treatment bed, Y-90 Radioembolisation and more.
05. One-on-one patient care coordinator
Every patient is assigned to a health care coordinator who is responsible for administrative aspects of patient care so that the patient receives the care he or she needs.