RWJBarnabas Health was the first to introduce TomoTherapy to New Jersey. TomoTherapy is a revolutionary type of radiation to treat cancer with. This advanced and integrated cancer treatment system benefits patients by locating tumors before treatment, delivering precise treatment to the tumors using rotating beamlets and minimizing damage to healthy tissue. TomoTherapy is the first system to integrate and automate radiation therapy from the location of the tumor to the delivery of the beams themselves. As a result, this breakthrough system is giving new options to patients with head, neck and prostate cancers, as well as other cancers near vital areas of the body, such as the heart.

To locate the tumor, TomoTherapy uses 3-D imaging from computerized tomography (CT scanning), which gives physicians the ability to confirm its shape and position before therapy begins. Image-guided patient positioning and treatment delivery are all accomplished using one piece of equipment that looks much like a standard CT system. Lying on a treatment table, the patient passes through a rotating ring, where the radiation beam makes a spiral pattern around him or her. The tumor receives optimal levels of radiation while doses to healthy tissue are minimized. Because the TomoTherapy machine rotates completely around the patient, the cancer can be treated from any angle, delivering radiation beams that are precisely shaped to the tumor. As a result, higher doses of radiation can be delivered to the tumor, limiting exposure to surrounding normal tissue and increasing the potential for decreased side effects and better cure rates. The complete procedure takes only 15 to 20 minutes. Additional information on TomoTherapy, is available from the TomoTherapy Inc., National Cancer Institute, National Comprehensive Cancer Network and American Cancer Society.

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