Cancer patients and
their families

What is radiation oncology? Here, patients and their families can find a comprehensive guide of radiotherapy treatments in Belgium.

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Healthcare Professionals and radiation oncology

As a medical professional, you're familiar with the basics of radiotherapy. Visit the following pages for a more elaborate approach on the topic.

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Healthcare Policy makers and radiation oncology

Radiation oncology is not like other medical specialties. This section deals with existing quality initiatives and cost-effectiveness.

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Home > Glossary > Q - Z

Q - Z

 Radiodermatitis SBRT Tattoo
 Radiomucositis Seed TPS
 Radiosurgery Simulation Tracking              
 Robotic Radiotherapy SRT VMAT
 Satellite Stereotactic X-ray
Target Volume       

    

Radiodermatitis

An inflammatory reaction of the skin, following a radiotherapy treatment in that area of the skin. Different grades exist : from mild redness, over deep redness and possible swelling, to blisters. The more serious higher grades are seldomly seen with modern radiotherapy.

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Radiomucositis

An inflammatory reaction of the mucosa (the inner lining of the mouth and the rest of the inestinal tract). Different grades exist : from mild redness and soreness, over deep redness and blisters to deeper ulcerations. The more serious higher grades are seldomly seen with modern radiotherapy.

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Radiosurgery

A form of stereotactic radiotherapy (see definition of SRT) performed in usually one fraction. The term is mostly used to refer to a treatment in the head (brain).

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Robotic radiotherapy

Classicaly the treatment table and the treatment machine can move, to place the patient correctly and to obtain the right angles for treatment beams in order to obtain a good dose distribution. If the table or the machine is fixed on a robotic arm, they can move more freely around, increasing the number of angles with which the tumor can be approached. The robotic system can also continue moving during the treatment session itself, to compensate for movemenst of the patient or the tumor inside the patient. See 'Tracking'.

Cyberknife treatment

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Satellite

Larger radiotherapy departments can open smaller sister-departments in nearby hospitals. In these smaller departments not all systems or techniques might be available that are present in the larger main department. The sister departments are called 'satellites'. An advantage is bringing treatments closer to patients, but there is also a risk of increasing costs and dilution of medical experience.

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SBRT

Stereotactic body radiotherapy. See 'stereotactic'. This term is used to differentiate treatments in the trunk (body) from treatments in the head (radiosurgery).

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Seed

A small amount of a radio-active isotope placed in a tiny container of a few mm long. This is a source that can then be placed inside the human body to irradiate from the inside out : see 'Brachytherapy'.

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Simulation

The technical procedure to prepare a radiotherapy treatment: it places the patient in the same position as during the real treatment sessions. Many measurements are taken to achieve this. During this phase the immobilisation systems are also applied and sometimes made to measure. Once the patient is in the right position a specific CT scan is obtained on which the radiation oncologist will base the treatment calculations.

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SRT

Stereotactic radiotherapy. This term encompasses both SBRT and Radiosurgery.

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Stereotactic

We use the term ‘stereotactic treatment’ if a large number of very precise radiation beams are targetting a small target volume. This allow stereotactic treament series to be shorter, using a higher dose per fraction. This then leads to a higher antitumoral effect. However, not all areas of the body and not all tumor types can be treated with a stereotactic approach.

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Target Volume

The radiation oncologist decides on a certain volume of the human body that needs to be irradiated. The volume does not only comprise the tumor, but also includes extra margins to take into account extension of the tumor in surrounding tissue, and possibly to nearby lymph nodes. Margins are also taken to compensate for possible small imprecisions during the treatment preparation- and executing process.

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Tattoo

During the simulation procedure a number of marks need to be made on the patient body as reference points to be able to replace the patient in the same position during treatment sessions later on. These marks can be marker lines on the skin or on individualised immobilisation systems, but it also possible to use real tattoo points. They are tiny and innocent, but will remain on the skin for a very long time.

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TPS

Treatment planning system. It is the whole set of hardware/software that imports the CT images from the simulation procedure, and possibly other images, and then calculates the treatment as programmed by the radiation physicist and the radiation oncologist.

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Tracking

This technique allows for moving of the treatment beam to compensate for possible movements of the patient during a treatment session. The beam will track the movements of the target volume, which might require placements of fiducials in the treated body area. Robotic radiotherapy uses tracking.

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VMAT

Volumetric Arc Therapy. This means that an IMRT treatment (see IMRT) is applied, not with a limited number of irradiation beams, but through a larger number of treatment incidences, for instance rotating 360° around the body.

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X-ray
  1. The ionizing electromagnetic radiation emitted from a vacuum tube, resulting from the bombardment of the target anode with a stream of electrons from a heated cathode.
  2. Ionizing electromagnetic radiation produced by the excitation of the inner orbital electrons of an atom by other processes, such as nuclear delay and its sequelae.
  3. A radiograph.

(Source: Radiologyinfo.org)

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