Types of Radiation Therapy

Radiation treatment continues to grow and change in order to improve the health and quality of life to cancer patients all around the world. With radiation therapy, high-energy particles or waves of energy are used to treat cancer by breaking up the DNA of cancer cells in a way that destroys their growth and division. Radiation can kill cancer cells or can decrease the rate at which cancer will spread. 

Goals of Radiation Therapy

A doctor may recommend radiation as a treatment option at different stages of a cancer diagnosis. When cancer is found in earlier stages, radiation therapy can help decrease the size of a tumor before a scheduled surgery or be used after surgery to kill any remaining cancerous cells. Radiation therapy can also be used in later stages of cancer and can be used as a solution for pain relief, or part of palliative care. When speaking of types of radiation therapy available, there are two main forms used for treatments both external and internal. Doctors will sometime prescribe radiation therapy to be combined with other cancer treatments such as chemotherapy, surgery, and others.

External Radiation Therapy

The most common type of radiation treatment involves an external source of equipment that delivers radiation from outside a patient’s body that is aimed at a targeted cancer site. Equipment used in external beam therapy include systems such as proton and neutron beam machines, orthovoltage x-ray, Cobalt-60 machines, and linear accelerators. The team of radiation oncologists will determine which method and system are best for treatment, depending on the location of cancer within the body. These systems can be used for patients who have several tumors of the head, neck, breast, lung, colon, and prostate. There are two levels of radiation when external radiation therapy is performed depending on the location of the tumor, low-energy and high-energy radiation. Low-energy radiation may be a better choice in treating surface tumors like skin cancer since it will not penetrate very deep into the body. High-energy radiation is used when patients require deeper penetration to reach cancerous cells hidden in the patient’s body.    

Internal Radiation Therapy

There are a few different types of internal radiation therapy available. One method is called Brachytherapy, which is described as placing radiation sources as close to the tumor site as possible. In some instances, it can be inserted directly inside the tumor. The implant may be temporary or permanent and is used in many cancers such as ones found in the cervix, uterus, vagina, rectum, eye, and in certain parts of the head and neck. Brachytherapy is separated into categories by the method in which radiation is placed on the body.

  • Interstitial Brachytherapy – involves placing radioactive needles or wires in the tumor area for a selected length of time, whether a day, a week or can remain in the patient’s body permanently.   
  • Intracavitary Brachytherapy – the placement of a metal or plastic radioactive source that is inserted into body cavities such as the vagina, uterus, or larynx to irradiate the cancerous walls within the cavity or the tissues nearby.
  • Intraluminal Radiation Therapy – delivers radiation to hollow organs. A surgeon or a radiation oncologist performs this method by inserting a specially designed tube in an opening such as the esophagus for cancer treatment.
  • Radioactively Tagged Molecules – radioactive particles are attached to small molecules and delivered intravenously.

As an independent LINAC service company, Acceletronics is dedicated to delivering the best equipment performance and services for linear accelerators and CT scanners across all major brands and models, as well as new and refurbished LINAC systems for sale. More information can be found online at  https://www.acceletronics.com/.

One Step Closer to the World’s Strongest Particle Accelerator

A team of researchers called the Muon Ionization Cooling Experiment (MICE) collaboration had announced the success of completing a muon beam. In the past, particles made of protons, electrons, and ions have been accelerated in concentrated beams. This new particle called muons are particles much like electrons but with a larger mass, which gives them the ability to create beams with ten times more energy than the previous largest particle accelerator, the Hadron Collider. Muons can also be used in further research on the atomic structure of materials and can see through highly dense materials that X-Rays cannot penetrate. To learn more about muons and how they are produced and how the team MICE have been successful in the cooling methods for this new scientific breakthrough, read this article

Evidence of Light Emission from the Eye During Radiotherapy

In the past, many patients had described seeing lights flashing during their radiation treatment even when their eyes were closed but no one was ever able to obtain evidence of this occurrence to prove it. Recently, new conclusions have been found by researchers at Dartmouth’s and Dartmouth-Hitchcock’s Norris Cotton Cancer Center that there is enough light created inside the eye to allow this visual sensation. These light emissions are very subtle and scientists are not surprised to not have had the ability to record these previously. To learn more, read this article that describes how researchers plan to further this phenomenon.  The main benefit of this research finding is the potential to improve imaging techniques in determining if radiation cuts across the eye during treatments. It also gives patients peace of mind having an explanation behind those mysterious flashings they may see.

Purchasing a CT Simulator and X-Ray Tubes

Before a patient begins treatment with radiotherapy, a team of experts will meet to develop a specific plan for each individual patient. The first step in the planning process may involve the use of a CT simulator, which includes a CT scan of the area of the body that needs radiation treatment. This piece of equipment is essential during the initial planning process and is a great asset to any clinic or organization to have available for use. Many considerations should be made when purchasing radiotherapy equipment such as a CT simulator, the software and cooling systems, and the purchase of an x-ray tube.

Choosing a CT Simulator Based on the X-Ray Tube

The most expensive component of a CT Simulator that also needs to be replaced the most is the x-ray tube. The x-ray tube is required to endure very high heat loads, preferably having the ability to store 5 million heat units (MHU) or more. The use of high heat unit tubes provides a longer life of the unit, which will, in turn, save on downtime when needing to be replaced. In choosing a CT Simulator to purchase, it is best to base the decision on the tube it comes with. A system that may be less costly upfront may have a tube that does not last very long and could ultimately cost more in the long run than if initially purchased with a better tube, to begin with.

Best X-Ray Tubes for Your Buck

When looking at CT Simulators for purchase, the tubes as explained above are important to consider in longevity. Each system comes with a specific tube and no upgrade options are available. Some of the most popular x-ray tubes for CT Simulation include:

  • GE RT 4 MCS7079 Varian Mini Hercules 7.5 HUU – This tube is well known for not being the best, but perhaps one of the worst-performing tubes with a short life span as well. Another downfall is that Dunlee replacement tubes are not offered for this model and must have a Varian tube from GE that can cost roughly $200,000 new. There are used options for replacements for under $100,000. Overall, this tube should come with a large caution sign showing the many reviews from users to stay away from this system if possible.
  • GE RT 16 Hercules MX240 8.0 MHU – These next tubes have a reasonable life expectancy of about 6,000 to 10,000 patient scans performed however, they have been known to exceed this amount and go beyond 15,000 scans. The tubes are warranted from GE and Dunlee for 6,000 scans. There are new replacement options from the Dunlee manufacturer and Reevo 240G that are priced at $195,000 new. They can be purchased used for $75,000- $100,000 as well. 
  • Philips MRC 600 8.0 MHU – This third option is by far the best in value with tubes that are among the longest-lasting on the market. The x-ray tubes exceed 800,000 to 1,6000,000 scan seconds or roughly 4 to 7 years at a mid-range patient occupancy level. On average, they can cost $140,000 new and $40,000-70,000 used.

Weighing Pros and Cons

Purchasing equipment for radiotherapy is never an easy task with having so many options available, both new and used provided as well. When choosing tubes at a lower price point, it may give a company good value in the short-term, but keep in mind, it will need to be replaced more frequently. If you don’t want to worry about needing to replace the tubes as often, a higher-end tube is your best option, but it will cost more. Ultimately, you need to take into consideration your facilities’ unique needs for the best solution available.

As an independent LINAC service company, Acceletronics is dedicated to delivering the best equipment performance and services for linear accelerators and CT scanners across all major brands and models, as well as new and refurbished LINAC systems for sale.  More information can be found online at https://www.acceletronics.com/.



New Micro Particle Accelerator Chip

Scientists at Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC) have introduced a new technological milestone for a prototype nanoscale particle accelerator. The new gadget gives promise for cancer treatments and will provide more scientific access to the functions of traditional particle accelerators, which are two-mile-long devices. A team of researchers believes that the technology offered by these large machines can be scaled down in size for accessible use in labs. However, the micro single chip is much less powerful than the larger Linac machines they mimic. In theory, they can still accelerate electrons up to 94% of the speed of light in order to create a particle flow strong enough for medical use and research. The miniature creation is still years away from use in radiotherapy. The seemingly simple concept of scaling down the design of large Linac systems is easier said than done, but it shows promise for the future and gives evidence of what potential these microchips have. To read more on this new finding click here

Australian Milestone

A big milestone in Australia as Elekta announces the first Australian-dwelling patient treated with its Unity MR-Linac system. In this Yahoo Finance article, the Unity MR-Linac is described as a magnetic resonance radiation therapy system that enables personalized precision radiation therapy through real-time visualization of the tumor during treatment. The patient was at a state in the cancer’s life where treatment wouldn’t normally be possible but was able to undergo drastic improvements thanks to the Linac’s precision and ability to pinpoint tumor spots while avoiding damaging healthy tissue surrounding it. The use of this method will undoubtedly open doors for more Australian patients to undergo treatment with this new and exciting medical technology.

As an independent LINAC service company, Acceletronics is dedicated to delivering the best equipment performance and services for linear accelerators and CT scanners across all major brands and models, as well as new and refurbished LINAC systems for sale.  More information can be found online at https://www.acceletronics.com/.

Should I Replace or Upgrade My LINAC System?


Having a shiny LINAC system in your clinic entitles you to benefits and services other clinics lacking this technology do not. Such a system is imperative when dealing with minute cancer situations and can not only give the medical staff an edge but also give patients a guarantee of quality others cannot. That said, a proper LINAC system is, quite obviously, not a cheap system to not only implement initially but maintain over time. At one point a clinician or technician may decide the time has come to upgrade to what’s best out there, but such a decision is not so black and white. This article should briefly outline why so.

What Do You Have?

When making the decision to upgrade, you have to look at what you have already implemented. What you have may actually be satisfactory despite being old. LINAC systems themselves are as pricy as one may expect but are also modifiable with different parts that make up the whole. Linear accelerators can be classified as defined by their part status. Essentially, your linear accelerator can be classified from older and lacking upgrades, through newer but lacking and older and possessing upgrades, to newer and possessing upgrades. Where your system lies on the spectrum indicates whether or not making upgrades is worth the cost when considering the competency.

What is Your Budget?

Depending on the overall budget and success of your clinic you may find it smarter to simply upgrade certain parts on your older LINAC system. If money is no object you can naturally swap out your system – even if it’s new – for a newer, more modern and up-to-date model. Having an infinite source of funds is most likely not the case for most clinics, so you must take budget into effect and decide if your system is old enough to really warrant a true upgrade. Remember, upgrading certain parts of your system will always be cheaper than an outright replacement, and going with used upgrades is still a viable and more cost-effective option.

Do You Have Time?

When replacing a LINAC system completely, time is of great importance. Upgrading certain parts on a system can take hours and can be done overnight, but swapping out an entire system can take much, much longer. Are you able to survive with such an important machine out of the office for so long? If your system isn’t too old and has competent upgrades, then it can be hard to justify that absence. Any experienced clinician understands his or her own office enough to know whether or not that absence is detrimental to overall clinic success.

As an independent LINAC service company, Acceletronics is dedicated to delivering the best equipment performance and services for linear accelerators and CT scanners across all major brands and models, as well as new and refurbished LINAC systems for sale.  More information can be found online at https://www.acceletronics.com/.



Should I Replace or Upgrade My LINAC System?

Having a shiny LINAC system in your clinic entitles you to benefits and services other clinics lacking this technology do not. Such a system is imperative when dealing with minute cancer situations and can not only give the medical staff an edge but also give patients a guarantee of quality others cannot. That said, a proper LINAC system is, quite obviously, not a cheap system to not only implement initially but maintain over time. At one point a clinician or technician may decide the time has come to upgrade to what’s best out there, but such a decision is not so black and white. This article should briefly outline why so.

What Do You Have?

When making the decision to upgrade, you have to look at what you have already implemented. What you have may actually be satisfactory despite being old. LINAC systems themselves are as pricy as one may expect but are also modifiable with different parts that make up the whole. Linear accelerators can be classified as defined by their part status. Essentially, your linear accelerator can be classified from older and lacking upgrades, through newer but lacking and older and possessing upgrades, to newer and possessing upgrades. Where your system lies on the spectrum indicates whether or not making upgrades is worth the cost when considering the competency.

What is Your Budget?

Depending on the overall budget and success of your clinic you may find it smarter to simply upgrade certain parts on your older LINAC system. If money is no object you can naturally swap out your system – even if it’s new – for a newer, more modern and up-to-date model. Having an infinite source of funds is most likely not the case for most clinics, so you must take budget into effect and decide if your system is old enough to really warrant a true upgrade. Remember, upgrading certain parts of your system will always be cheaper than an outright replacement, and going with used upgrades is still a viable and more cost-effective option.

Do You Have Time?

When replacing a LINAC system completely, time is of great importance. Upgrading certain parts on a system can take hours and can be done overnight, but swapping out an entire system can take much, much longer. Are you able to survive with such an important machine out of the office for so long? If your system isn’t too old and has competent upgrades, then it can be hard to justify that absence. Any experienced clinician understands his or her own office enough to know whether or not that absence is detrimental to overall clinic success.

As an independent LINAC service company, Acceletronics is dedicated to delivering the best equipment performance and services for linear accelerators and CT scanners across all major brands and models, as well as new and refurbished LINAC systems for sale.  More information can be found online at https://www.acceletronics.com/.