Linac is better known as a Linear Accelerator. It is a device that is used to cure tumors. It customizes x-rays of high energy to conform to a tumor’s shape and destructs cancer cells while not affecting the surrounding normal tissue. Several safety measures are built in to confirm that it does not offer a higher dose than recommended. Further, it is checked on routine basis by the medical to confirm that the device.
Use of LINAC
LINAC or a linear accelerator is majorly used in the treatment of cancer for external beam radiation treatment. Most parts and organs of the body can be treated using this linear accelerator. Now let us know how it treats tumor. With the help of this LINAC, the patient’s tumor is directly hit by high energy x-rays. The best part of LINAC is that it can be set in such a manner that it only kills the cancer cells and does not affect the nearby normal tissues. There are several conventional techniques that are used to use LINAC like Image Guided Radiation Therapy, Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy, Stereotactic Radio-surgery and Stereotactic Body Radio Therapy.
Working of LINAC
Microwave technology is used in the linear accelerator to accelerate electrons in a section of the linear accelerator that is called wave guide. After this it permits these electrons to bump with a heavy metal target in order to yield high energy x-rays. These x-rays that are created in this process are shaped on their way to exit to match to the shape of the tumor of the patient. Therefore it makes it usable to treat the tumor without affecting other parts of the body other than killing the tumor cells. The shaping of the x-ray beam is done either by blocks that are kept at the top of the machine or by a multi-leaf collimator that is integrated into the head of the appliance. To get the treated started, the patient is asked to lie down on a mobile treatment couch and to ensure that the patient is in an appropriate spot, lasers are used. The reason why a movable couch is used is that it can move in multiple directions like right, left, up, down, in and out. The part from where the beam comes out of the accelerator is called a Gantry. This gantry can be moved around the patient to adjust to the patient’s body part containing the tumor. Along with it the mobile couch can also be moved to get the best radiation.
Time at which LINAC can be used
In general, patients receive LINAC in daily treatment sessions for a few weeks. How much radiation is to be given and when, depends on several factors.
Pros of LINAC Therapy
There are several reasons that make LINAC so successful. They are that LINAC is requires no surgery and no hospitalization. Further, there are no direct side-effects. Also modern technology, movable couch and gantry make it easy to use and allow monitoring.
Cons of LINAC Therapy
There are several cons of this therapy as well. They are that it is less proactive and wait to see approach. If proper monitoring is not done, then it can allow the cancer cells to grow, hence limiting the treatment options. Further, this therapy requires a lot of follow ups with the doctor and constant monitoring.
Reason for the success of LINAC
Using this therapy, the tumor of the patient can be checked to properly monitor the cancer treatment. The expert using the treatment can adapt the treatment by observing the changes in the tumor with its shape and size.
This is the basic reason for the success of this treatment as it can be adapted to the changes that occur in the patient’s tumor.