Before the treatment, radiation planning (or simulation)session is done, where a therapist will make a custom-fit mold for the patient .
The radiologist will take a 3D image of the tumor, often using one of the following imaging methods:
- CT (computed tomography) scan.
- MRI (magnetic resonance imaging).
- PET (positron emission tomography) scan / PET-CT scan
Then, a computer program analyzes the 3D image and designs radiation beams that confirm to the shape of the tumor.
A 3D conformal radiation treatment session takes about 30-45 minutes approx. The Medical Physicist sets up the treatment according to the 3D images of the tumor, and the info from the simulation.
The patient is made to lie in the custom mold on the x-ray table. During treatment, beams from several directions precisely match the tumor’s height, width, and depth. The linear accelerator moves in a circular fashion around the tumor area.
The actual treatment lasts only a few minutes. The consultant will decide your treatment schedule, including how many times per week the patient will need to repeat radiation treatment.