Head & Neck Cancer Treatment
Although cancers of the throat, voice box, mouth and nose can be successfully treated and cured with limited surgery and radiation therapy (with or without chemotherapy depending upon other factors), the side effects of temporary loss of appetite, taste, vocal quality, and saliva production can be severe, resulting in significant weight loss. Long term damage to the teeth and jaw can also occur. Since Tomotherapy can better protect the saliva glands and vocal apparatus than even standard Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT), it is likely that both acute and long term side effects will be reduced by applying this new technique, without changing the cure rates.
Brain tumors can be benign or malignant, if they grow into surrounding brain. Neither have a tendency to spread elsewhere in the body, but malignant tumors can never be completely removed by surgery, and many benign tumors are found next to critical brain structures, such that surgical removal could result in a permanent disability. Radiation therapy is frequently used in such instances. Treatment may vary from a 6-7 week course to an abbreviated 2-3 week course (fractionated stereotactic radiotherapy) to a single high dose session (stereotactic radiosurgery). Because of its CT-image guidance, Tomotherapy can precisely target benign or malignant brain tumors, while relatively sparing critical structures adjacent to them, which might limit a surgical approach.
Sometimes cancer from other organs such as lung or breast can spread through the bloodstream to the brain. These metastases can cause serious disability, seizures, or paralysis. Most often a short (2-3 week) course of radiation to the entire brain is recommended, however in selected situations additional delivery of a single high dose of radiation to the tumor(s) can improve and prolong quality of life. Tomotherapy is an excellent means of accomplishing this because of its ability to limit dosage to the rest of the brain.