In recent years there have been significant developments in clinical research and improvements in radiotherapy equipment which allow for more accurate treatment and less damage to non-cancerous cells. These new technologies enable patients to receive more accurate and precise treatment, frequently over a shorter time period.
These developments include Intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT), Image guided radiotherapy (IGRT) and stereotactic radiotherapy.
IMRT is a 3-dimensional radiation therapy planned with CT scans to allow imaging of the tumour and enabling radiation of different intensities to target the tumour from different treatment beam angles.
RapidArc or VMAT (a technique that allows for even more efficient and accurate use of intensity modulated radiotherapy in some clinical scenarios has been introduced in Ireland and further rollout is expected with the new radiotherapy facilities in Cork and Galway.
Image-guided radiotherapy (IGRT) uses imaging on the treatment machine to ensure the accuracy of the radiation treatment delivery.
Stereotactic radiotherapy is a type of external beam radiotherapy that uses special equipment to position the patient and precisely deliver radiation to a small tumour, commonly a brain or lung cancer. It can be delivered in a single session or over a number of sessions
Brachytherapy is a specific type of internal radiotherapy in which the radioactive material is placed directly into or near a tumour using a special needle, wire or catheter.
All radiotherapy centres in Ireland offer external beam radiotherapy and brachytherapy. Intensity modulated and image guided radiotherapy is available for specific tumour types in all centres.