Tomotherapy at Yuma Oncology Center permits the delivery of state-of-the-art radiation oncology treatment to practically any site in the body. Daily CT image guidance assures that treatments will be given exactly as planned, every day. The unique means of Tomotherapy treatment also allows higher radiation doses to be given to tumors while dramatically lowering doses to normal tissues. We believe that these advantages will result in fewer side effects during and after treatment, while improving cancer control rates.
From Consultation to Treatment
During your initial consultation you will be evaluated by a nurse and a Radiation Oncologist, who will take your history, perform a physical examination, and review your laboratory, X-ray, and pathologic studies. Sometimes the Radiation Oncologist will order additional studies to more completely stage, or determine the extent of your tumor. Sometimes you may be referred to another cancer specialist for an opinion about chemotherapy (Medical Oncologist) or surgery. If radiation therapy is agreed upon to be the recommended treatment for your cancer, the Radiation Oncologist will discuss the specific recommendation for your particular type of cancer and location. After reviewing the risks, benefits, logistics, alternatives, and objectives of treatment, you will be asked to sign an informed consent document and a treatment planning or simulation procedure will be scheduled.
Treatment planning is performed on site in Yuma. It may take an hour or more of your time. To allow us to accurately position you in the same position for each treatment, a customized immobilization device will be constructed for you. This can be a vacuum formed beanbag, a thermoplastic mesh mask, another customized device, or some combination of these. After you have been positioned in this way, a series of thinly sliced Computerized Tomography or CT images will be obtained with you in the treatment position and transferred to our treatment planning computer.
In some cases your tumor will be seen better using another imaging procedure and you will be referred to a diagnostic radiology facility to have either Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) or Positron Emission Tomography (PET) images obtained with you in the treatment position. Your Radiation Oncologist will then spend several hours outlining the target for treatment and normal structures within the region to be avoided or limited in dose. Our Radiation Physicist and Medical Dosimetrist will also spend several days comparing plans generated by the Tomotherapy treatment planning computer. Ultimately your Radiation Oncologist will choose the plan which best fulfills the goals for your treatment.
On the day of your first treatment you will be repositioned using your immobilization device on the treatment table. The Tomotherapy machine will then take a CT scan of the treatment region using its high energy beam and the images will be superimposed on your simulation CT scan. If these two sets of images do not exactly superimpose, the Tomotherapy machine will adjust the treatment table or its programmed plan to deliver your treatment as close as possible to that which was planned. The actual treatment may take 5-15 minutes to complete. You will not feel anything during the treatment and you will not see any movement of the machine, which is shaped like a large CT scanner. During the treatment the high energy Linear Accelerator within the machine will be rotating in a pattern of a CT scan, and will be continuously changing to shape itself to your anatomy. This process will be repeated for every one of your treatments to assure the greatest precision and accuracy.
Appointments may be scheduled Monday-Friday from 8:00 – 5:00 and our physicians are available after hours via an answering service, pager and telephone.