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Trends To Look Out For In Radiation Oncology: Advances In Technology And Treatment Delivery

Radiation oncology has a very bright future as it is driven by many advancements in the technology space as well as in the treatment delivery space. 

Sambhav Kumar
Written by: Sambhav KumarUpdated at: Jul 04, 2023 16:01 IST
 Trends To Look Out For In Radiation Oncology: Advances In Technology And Treatment Delivery

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Radiation oncology is a specialised medical field that uses ionising radiation to treat cancer. It involves the precise delivery of high-energy radiation to targeted areas in the body affected by tumours, with the primary goal of eradicating cancer cells or shrinking tumours to alleviate symptoms and improve overall patient outcomes. With several advancements, the field of radiation oncology has completely transformed for the better. 

In an interaction with Only My Health, Dr Vividha Dubey, Consultant - Radiation Oncologist , HCG Hospitals, Bhavnagar, M.D Radiation Oncology, shared some trends to look out for in the radiation oncology space which takes a closer look at the very many advancements that are changing the way we treat cancers.

Hypofractionation and Stereotactic Radiation

The delivery of higher radiation doses in fewer treatment sessions is called Hypofractionation, this treatment has seen an increased trend in these years. This method reduces the overall treatment time while maintaining high results. These innovative techniques are increasingly being employed in various cancer types that include lung, liver, prostate, and brain.

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Proton Therapy

Another emerging technology is proton therapy, that is offering enhanced precision, that also reduces side effects compared to the traditional method of radiation therapy. Proton therapy can be precisely targeted to tumours while minimising side effects to healthy tissues, particularly critical in treating paediatric patients and tumours near vital organs. As the availability of proton therapy centres expands globally, this advanced treatment modality holds significant promise for optimising cancer outcomes.

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

According to a paper published in Reports of Practical Oncology and Radiotherapy, AI and Machine Learning is changing the way radiation oncology is perceived with helping in treatment planning, image-guided techniques, and prediction of the results. AI algorithms can also help in analysing the various amounts of data from patients to develop precise treatment plans that use radiation dose distribution to the, maximum and minimise the toxicities. Machine learning algorithms can assist in real-time tumour tracking and adaptive radiation delivery. Furthermore, AI-driven image analysis can improve tumour detection, aiding in early diagnosis and treatment response assessment.

Integration of Imaging Modalities

The fusion of multiple imaging modalities, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and positron emission tomography (PET), with radiation therapy planning is becoming increasingly prevalent. This integration allows for more accurate tumour delineation, treatment planning, and monitoring of treatment response. By combining the strengths of different imaging techniques, radiation oncologists can obtain a comprehensive understanding of the tumour and tailor treatment strategies and provide customised treatment.

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The Bottomline

Radiation oncology has a very bright future as it is driven by many advancements in the technology space as well as in the treatment delivery space.  There are many treatment methods changing the landscape including Hypofractionation, stereotactic radiation, proton therapy, adaptive radiation therapy, artificial intelligence, and the integration of imaging modalities. The main goal of these treatments is to reduce patient mortality or health cell mortality at the least and to provide a long life to any patient suffering from cancer of any kind. 

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