A linear accelerator, also called a LINAC, is the device most commonly used for external beam radiation treatments for patients with cancer. The linear accelerator is used to treat all parts/organs of the body. It delivers high-energy x-rays to the region of the patient's tumor. These x-ray treatments can be designed in such a way that they destroy the cancer cells while sparing the surrounding normal tissue. The LINAC is used to treat all body sites, using conventional techniques, Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT), Image Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT), Stereotactic Radiosurgery (SRS) and Stereotactic Body Radio Therapy (SBRT).
Medical Radiation Treatment
Appropriate treatment volume and dosage is prescribed by the board certified radiation oncologist. The medical radiation physicist and the dosimetrist determine how to deliver the prescribed dose and calculate the amount of time it will take the accelerator to deliver that dose. Radiation therapists operate the linear accelerator and give patients their daily radiation treatments.
Patient safety is very important and is assured in several ways. Before treatment is delivered to the patient, the treatment plan is developed and approved by the radiation oncologist in collaboration with the radiation dosimetrist and physicist. The plan is reviewed before treatment is given and quality-control procedures ensure that the treatment delivered is the same as was planned.