Radiation-MachineRemedies & Treatments

External Beam Radiation Therapy

External beam therapy (EBT) is a method for delivering high-energy x-ray or electron beams, which are usually generated by a linear accelerator and targeted to destroy cancer cells while sparing surrounding normal tissues.

External beam therapy (EBT) also may be used to relieve symptoms in patients with advanced cancer or cancer that has metastasized. External beam radiation therapy is a local treatment, which means it treats a specific part of your body.

If you have cancer in your lung; the External beam therapy will have radiation only to your chest, not to your whole body. External beam radiation therapy is used to treat many types of cancer.

What Is External Beam Therapy And How Is It Used?

External beam therapy (external radiation therapy), is a method for delivering a beam or several beams of high-energy x-rays to a patient’s tumor.

Beams (high energy x-rays) are generated outside the patient and are targeted at the tumor site. They can deposit their dose to the area of the tumor to destroy the cancer cells. With careful treatment planning, the surrounding normal tissues will be spared, and no radioactive sources will be placed inside the patient’s body.

External beam therapy is most commonly used to treat cancer, with the goal of eliminating a tumor or preventing one from returning.

The procedure may also be performed before or after surgery for the following purpose:

  • to remove a cancerous tumor,
  • to reduce the tumor size before surgery,
  • to prevent the tumor from coming back after surgery, or
  • May also be used as a palliative treatment in patients with advanced-stage cancer or cancer that has metastasized (in this case, the goal of therapy is to reduce a patient’s symptoms rather than cure cancer).

Indications For External Beam Therapy EBT

External beam therapy is used to treat the following diseases as well as many others:

  • Lung Cancer Treatment
  • Breast Cancer Treatment
  • Colorectal (Bowel) Cancer Treatment
  • Brain Tumor Treatment
  • Esophageal Cancer Treatment
  • Head and Neck Cancer Treatment
  • Prostate Cancer Treatment

Types of Beams Used in Radiation Therapy

Radiation beams used in external radiation therapy come from the following types of particles: Photons, Protons, and Electrons

Photons

Most radiation therapy gear uses photon beams. Photons are also used in x-rays (x-rays use lower doses). Photon beams can reach tumors deep in the body, and as they travel through the body, they scatter little bits of radiation along their path. Photon beams do not stop once they reach the tumor but go into normal tissue past it.

Protons

Protons are positively charged particles, and its beams can also reach tumors deep in the body. On the other hand, proton beams do not scatter radiation on their path through the body and they stop once they reach the tumor.

Health experts think that proton beams might reduce the amount of normal tissue that is exposed to radiation, and clinical trials are underway to compare radiation therapy using proton beams with one, using photons beams.

Some cancer centers are using proton beams in radiation therapy, but the high cost and size of the machines are restraining their use.

Electrons

Electrons are negatively charged particles, and cannot travel very far through body tissues. Therefore, their use is limited to tumors on the skin or near the surface of the body.

External beam therapy

Why Perform External Beam Therapy?

External beam therapy is most commonly used to treat cancer, and the goal is to eliminate a tumor or prevent one from returning. The procedure may also be performed before or after surgery to remove a cancerous tumor, to reduce the tumor size before surgery, or to prevent the tumor from coming back after surgery.

EBT may also be used as a palliative treatment in patients with advanced-stage cancer or cancer that has metastasized, and the goal of therapy is to reduce a patient’s symptoms rather than cure cancer, in this case.

People often don’t know about some facts on radiation therapy and wonder if they will be radioactive when they are having treatment with radiation. Be assured, however, that external beam radiation therapy will not make you radioactive, and you can safely be around other people, even pregnant women, and young children.

 

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