Fractional Radiation Therapy Shortens Treatment Times
The fight against cancer is one of the areas of medicine in which more is innovated, in order to achieve more effective treatments but also less invasive for patients. In this sense, hypofractionated radiotherapy involves applying a higher daily dose of radiation to patients undergoing cancer treatments, thus reducing the number of sessions required but achieving the same efficacy in their cure.
It is a system that guarantees a better therapeutic as well as logistical approach, since the patient has to travel less times to the hospital. In any case, hypofractionated radiotherapy is not new in itself, although until not long ago it was reserved for patients with diseases that were in more advanced stages.
“The limitation of its application was due to the impossibility of conforming the dose precisely”, explains Dr. Marco Panichi, director of the Institute of Advanced Oncology of Atrys and Sanitas. This meant that healthy organs also received radiation, which could have significant side effects.
However, the increasingly early diagnosis of the disease and the technologies currently available (with the use of multi-energetic linear accelerators) «have provided us with tools that allow us to define more precisely where the therapy should be applied, protecting healthy organs from receiving radiation, ”says Panichi. That is, they are high-precision equipment that allows high doses of radiation to be applied selectively without increasing it on other adjacent healthy organs or structures of the patient.
This doctor explains that X-ray techniques have advanced so much in recent times that very high resolution images are being achieved, which facilitates an early diagnosis to select the patient who can be treated with this kind of radiotherapy. “Now you can be certain whether you have to treat a node or not without having to do a biopsy first,” he says. “The equipment is precise and fast, which allows us to better monitor the patient,” he says, while highlighting “the human resources behind these techniques” because these professionals “have to be trained to apply these advances ».
Panichi also explains that hypofractionated radiation therapy can be applied in 80% of tumors. For example, in a prostate cancer in which 40 treatment sessions used to be common, this technique allows no more than 28 sessions. Furthermore, this reduction also allows