In the Amethyst Radiotherapy Center, we use state-of-the-art equipment based on IMRT-VMAT technology, which has several therapeutic advantages, one of which is the short duration of a radiotherapy session, of a maximum of 5-7 min/session, a function that ensures the accuracy of the treatment but also the comfort of the patient.
This medical equipment is the most technologically advanced both in Romania and at the European level.
What kind of radiotherapy do we use at Amethyst?
Radiation therapy is a cancer treatment that uses high-energy radiation, usually X-rays. The type and amount of radiation you receive is carefully calculated to destroy cancer cells, which are abnormal cells. This stops the normal division of cells and as a result, they are destroyed. Your treatment is planned to avoid as much healthy tissue as possible and to destroy as many cancer cells as possible.
The goal of radiation therapy is to destroy cancer cells while affecting normal cells as little as possible. It can be used to treat many types of cancer in almost any part of the body.
Curative treatment, which is represented by curative radiotherapy, aims to provide long-term benefits to patients. Sometimes radiation therapy is given alone or may be given with another treatment. Radiation therapy may be given before surgery to shrink the tumor or after surgery to stop the growth of cancer cells that may remain. It can also be administered before, during or after chemotherapy or hormone treatment to improve overall results.
Palliative radiotherapy aims to shrink tumors and reduce pain or improve other symptoms of cancer. Palliative radiotherapy can also prolong life.
Step by step to treatment
Once you arrive at the Amethyst clinic, the multidisciplinary team will take over your case and you will be constantly advised throughout your treatment.
After the medical investigations and the evolution of your disease will be carefully analyzed by the Amethyst specialists, they will make the treatment decision within the Oncological Commission and will propose the therapeutic strategy you must follow. Radiotherapy treatment is carefully planned for each individual patient.
The doctor responsible for your care is called an oncologist. He or one of his team will prescribe your radiotherapy treatment. This will be planned by a team of radiotherapists and physicists.
Radiotherapists are the main people you will come into contact with when you are being given radiotherapy treatment. They work closely with your oncologist, help plan and are responsible for administering your treatment.
Your doctor will be able to answer many of your questions. The team of technicians can also advise you on possible side effects and what you can and cannot do during treatment.
You can also consult other specialists who can help you with supportive therapies such as psychological counseling, advice for proper nutrition and managing this condition during treatment and afterwards.
The doctor will ask you to sign a consent form and give you a copy of it. This is a written record that you have agreed to the planned radiotherapy. Before giving your consent, your doctor will discuss with you what radiotherapy may involve, the benefits and risks, and any alternative treatments available. You may also receive written information to support what you have been told. It is important that you understand the information you have been given – ask questions if you do not understand or if you want more information. To help you think about what you might want to ask your doctor, you can go to Frequently Asked Questions.
Planning is done based on a CT scan that is performed in the medical imaging department. This scan provides the exact “model” of the position for treatment. The medical imaging team will explain what will happen during the planning CT and carry out any preparation you may need. This scan will give your doctor and physios a detailed picture of the area that needs treatment.
If you have to undergo radiation therapy treatment to the head or neck, you will need to wear a special mask to keep the head still, a mask that will be made by taking the mold of the head on a special material.
Radiotherapists and medical physicists (who are radiation specialists) will then calculate the dose of radiation that will be administered to you. This is done with the help of modern, state-of-the-art computer systems.
The first session will be scheduled a few days after the first visit to our center. When radiation therapy is part of a combined treatment plan (with surgery and chemotherapy), the medical team will determine the best strategy for you to follow.
After finishing treatment, many people look forward to life getting back to normal. However, you may feel a little weak. This is normal. During radiotherapy you will get used to the new routine of hospital visits. Completion of treatment will also bring changes that you must adjust to. Most side effects last only a few days or weeks, but there are some effects of radiation therapy, such as fatigue, that can persist for several months after treatment is completed. However, any effects should gradually improve if you get enough rest and eat well.
After you complete your treatment, you will be given clinical appointments so that your doctor can check your progress. Appointments may become less frequent as time goes on. If you are concerned about anything, you should call to get an appointment sooner.
How is the radiotherapy session itself?
Preparation for radiation treatment can take some time, often longer than the treatment itself. When the technicians feel that both the device and you are in the correct position, they will leave the room and turn on the radiation beam. You will not feel anything during the treatment.
You must remain still for a few minutes while the treatment is being administered, but you can breathe and swallow normally. The device will move around you during the treatment and technicians may come to change your position or that of the device, explaining each step. After the treatment, they will give you special instructions, for example regarding the care of the treatment area. Please follow them carefully.
Radiotherapy is administered from Monday to Friday in an outpatient setting. The number of treatments you will need depends on many factors in your condition and the type of cancer you have. A radiotherapy treatment can last about five weeks.