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I wonder if anyone knows anything about the relative benefits of TomoTherapy as opposed to 'normal' radiotherapy? I gather that this targeted and high-intensity 360 degree version is regarded highly in the USA and yet is only available thus-far at Addenbrooke's in Cambridge, Middlesborough and one other centre (?).

My partner has recently completed her 18 sessions of GemCis and achieved a 50% reduction in tumour size plus a 90% reduction in markers and is now moving on to radiotherapy. But, before she starts, I'm obviously wondering about the merits of this treatment or photodynamic therapy as opposed to the usual treatment here in the UK (some five weeks of daily 'zaps').

This lady's answer to me on one of the American websites is as follows:-

"Have they considered stereotactic radiation, tomotherapy? This is radiation but it is beamed to the specific tumor and is less destructive on the parts of the body surrounding the tumor. And it does not destroy all the other cells in your body. It also takes less treatments. I underwent it 5 treatments, 1 every other day for a week and a half (no weekends) and it reduced my tumor to next to nothing and dropped the SUV to a level 2. I couldn't believe it. Might be worth looking into."

Any thoughts anyone?

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From what I've read, Tomotherapy is similar to the CyberKnife technique insofar as the radiation is "targetted" at the tumour rather than beamed over a large area. The main benefit, according to the literature is that there are fewer side effects because the non-cancerous tissues don't suffer the same degree of toxicity.

Tomotherapy Incorporated (a US company) holds many of the patents and their website is www.tomotherapy.com. The website is very informative and has case studies and personal messages from former patients.

Threre are three hospitals in the UK which have Tomotherapy facilities. As you mentioned, Addenbrookes is one of them. The others are at the Northern Centre for Cancer Care at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle and the Cromwell Cancer Centre in London.

NICE usually give guidance as to when a treatment is recommended. However, I can't find any information on their site regarding Tomotherapy: a Google search led to a page which had been removed from the NICE website. I don't know what affect that will have as regards obtaining Tomotherapy on the NHS.

Kind regards

Nicki x

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Hi all

this sounds interesting, I'm going to add it to my list, especially as we are at xx hospital.

I wonder if it can be used for PC with mets in the liver???


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Thanks everyone - really useful stuff starting to come out of this one. I have taken the following from the London Cromwell Hospital's website:-

"The Department has over 20 years experience in the provision of Radiotherapy Services. During 2006/7 the Department underwent a complete refurbishment and upgraded its treatment facilities with two Tomotherapy-Hi Art System®.

The Hi-Art System integrates treatment planning, patient positioning and verification and treatment delivery in one system. This is a revolutionary new way of treating cancer, which uses a CT system with sophisticated software to locate and verify the treatment site prior to each treatment. Treatment is then delivered via a rotating beam of radiation that is constantly modulated to target the exact size and shape of the tumour. The treatment area can range from 0.625cm by 0.5cm to 40cm x 162cm. As with conventional radiotherapy all tumours are treatable using the Hi Art system.

Prostate Brachytherapy and Iodine therapy are also available.

A Gulmay D3300 kilovoltage unit providing superficial and orthovoltage xray therapy will be available from January 2009.

The Radiotherapy Department is committed to continual improvement and the provision of a first-class service. They have achieved BS EN ISO 9001:2000 accreditation and participate in regular audits."

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