The Medical Imaging Department of the Amethyst Radiotherapy Centre, uses CT scanning with state-of-the-art equipment, to create detailed images, or scans of areas inside the body, organs and tissues, to diagnose diseases.
The CT scanner covers all possible types of investigations at a high quality and is one of the best and fastest tools for studying localised disorders of the brain, chest, abdomen and pelvis, as this procedure provides cross-sectional images of all types of tissue found in these anatomical areas (internal organs, blood vessels, muscles, lymph nodes).
This department performs both general investigations using diagnostic CT scans as well as planning CT scans, which are used for the optimal radiotherapy treatment plan for oncological diseases.
The role of the CT scanner in radiotherapy
Success in treating cancer using radiotherapy is dependent on the accuracy and quality of radiation beam delivery. All radiotherapy cancer treatments depend on the characteristics of the patient and must be individualised for each patient. In order to improve the targeting of radiation to tumour sites and at the same time limit unnecessary irradiation of normal tissues, radiotherapy planning imaging is vital.
Improvements in digital technology have allowed the use of images taken from diagnostic imaging, i.e. CT, MRI, PET, and their inclusion in radiotherapy equipment, allowing for accurate radiotherapy dose planning and individualisation of treatment for each patient. Each patient who has an indication for radiotherapy treatment will initially undergo a planning CT scan, on the basis of which the treatment plan will then be drawn up.
The CT simulator available at Amethyst produces 3D images of each patient’s internal anatomy, images that will help our doctors pinpoint the area of interest as well as nearby critical structures. This first step is followed by determining the need for shaping of any immobilisation devices to subsequently ensure that the patient will have the same position, every day, throughout treatment.
Step by step at Amethyst: from the CT scan to the radiotherapy treatment plan
After your initial consultation with the radiation therapist, you will receive a recommendation for a planning CT scan, which you can schedule at the clinic reception. Your doctor will make sure you have all the necessary information and details about preparing for this procedure.
When you come in for your investigation, the imaging department staff will pick you up and take you through the procedure. If you have new questions that you did not initially ask your doctor, you can confidently ask your radiologist.
The staff will ask you to lie down on the machine table in the correct position for the procedure, which will take about 30 minutes, during which time you should try to relax and breathe normally. This table is hard and some patients may find it uncomfortable, so please inform your radiologist as soon as possible if you are unable to hold this position so they can help you. During the procedure, the machine table will move back and forth and you won’t feel a thing.
Upon completion of the Planning Computer Tomography you will receive a personalised card scheduling your treatment sessions and at the same time a member of the department will give you a tour of the clinic and a presentation of the steps you will follow during your radiotherapy treatment.
Please ask any questions you may have to the specialised staff at your disposal.