Radiotherapy

Where is radiotherapy carried out?

The Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre (BWoSCC) is a specialist centre for the treatment of cancer. Some of the treatments available at the centre are not available at your local hospital. Radiotherapy is one such treatment.

The centre is situated within the Gartnaval Hospital Campus on Great Western Road in Glasgow. A further radiotherapy centre is located within the grounds of Monklands Hospital in Lanarkshire.

Patients attending the centre have access to the latest radiotherapy techniques, equipment and clinical trials. We are continuously investing in the replacement and upgrade of equipment to expand and improve the service we deliver.

We have a full range of modern radiotherapy planning and treatment facilities which include twelve linear accelerators (linacs) and three CT Scanners. There are a further two linacs and a planning CT Scanner at the Lanarkshire Beatson.

The following section offers a brief overview of the radiotherapy services available. More detailed information specific to conditions and treatment can be downloaded from our Information Leaflets Section.

We are a teaching centre so student radiographers may be present during your planning and treatment sessions.

Types of radiotherapy

Developments in radiotherapy techniques and equipment mean that we can target tumours more accurately. This allows an increased dose to the tumour whilst reducing the dose to surrounding healthy tissue. Some of the current techniques used in the centre are:

Adaptive Radiotherapy 

Adaptive radiotherapy takes into account the fact that changes may occur during a course of treatment. These can include changes in the shape\size of tumour, change to body shape i.e. gaining or losing weight or movement of internal organs e.g. due to bladder or bowel filling.

When your doctor plans your treatment, they will produce 2-3 specific plans for you. Each day, immediately prior to your treatment being delivered, your radiographers will perform a CT scan. They will then analyse this scan carefully and select the optimal plan for you. This is sometimes referred to as 'plan of the day'. 

Deep Inspiration Breath Hold (DIBH) 

DIBH is a method of delivering radiotherapy while holding your breath for 20 seconds at a time until the treatment has been given. This is most commonly used for people having radiotherapy to their left breast or chest wall.

By taking a breath in and holding it, the heart can move further away from the chest wall reducing the amount of radiation that the heart will receive. However, everyone's anatomy is different and some people do not benefit from this. 

Flattening Filter Free (FFF)

FFF is a form of radiotherapy treatment. It delivers the treatment beam much faster which reduces the treatment time for high dose per fraction stereotactic treatments. The shorter treatment time reduces the likelihood of movement during treatment or respiration. 

Image Guided Radiotherapy (IGRT) 

Image Guided Radiotherapy is the use of a variety of imaging techniques, such as X-rays or CT scans, alongside radiotherapy. Imaging enables us to confirm the position of the tumour so that the radiation beam can be targeted more precisely. 

 

Intensity Modulated Radiotherapy (IMRT) 

IMRT is a type of conformal (mapping) radiotherapy that allows the delivery of very precise doses of radiation. The radiation beam can be shaped precisely to fit the shape of the tumour. 

MRI Fusion 

MRI imaging in radiotherapy helps to show the exact position and edge of the tumour and any surrounding organs. This helps to accurately target the tumour, and is vital for the success of radiotherapy.

Paediatric Services

We currently treat a variety of paediatric (childhood) cancers. We have a dedicated team who work together to ensure the patients receive the best care and treatment possible.

Stereotactic Ablative Radiotherapy (SABR) 

SABR is a type of treatment currently used mainly for lung cancer patients with early stage, non-small cell, well-defined tumours.

It is a very precise treatment which allows the delivery of higher doses of radiation to a small area, whilst reducing the dose to surrounding tissues. This treatment is delivered over a much shorter duration than conventional lung radiotherapy, meaning fewer visits to the hospital. 

Stereotactic Radiosurgery- HyperArc™

Stereotactic radiosurgery is used to treat very small areas within the brain.

It is mostly used for small, well-defined tumours. We currently treat using HyperArc™ high definition radiotherapy which allows us to deliver state of the art radiotherapy to highly complex cases efficiently and with a very high degree of accuracy. 

Superficial Treatment 

The Superficial Treatment Unit is used to treat lesions that do not require a dose of radiation to a great depth, such as skin and bone cancers or scars. 

Total Body Irradiation (TBI) 

 TBI is used in people needing bone marrow transplants. 

 

Volumetric Modulated Arc Therapy (VMAT) 

VMAT (also referred to as RapidArc) is a type of IMRT (Intensity modulated radiotherapy).

The LINAC (LINAC or linear accelerator, is a machine that is used to deliver external beam radiation treatments to cancer patients) continuously moves around the patient while delivering the treatment.

The beam around the tumour, is constantly shaped and reshaped while limiting the dose to surrounding healthy tissues. The speed or amount of radiation delivered is modified during the delivery of the beam, changing its intensity at specific points. This type of treatment takes much less time to deliver than other radiotherapy techniques as the beams are delivered in an uninterrupted sweeping arc around the patient. 

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