Radiotherapy, or radiation therapy, is a treatment involving the use of ionizing radiation and is now one of the most effective approaches to treating cancer. It is a non-invasive procedure, meaning it requires no anesthesia or medication and is typically performed in a short period of time. Radiotherapy can be introduced alone or in combination with other therapeutic techniques (surgery and/or chemotherapy), which may have curative or palliative intent.
The Humanitas Radiotherapy Department, headed by Professor Marta Scorsetti, occupies an area of about 1,000 square meters and houses five available rooms equipped with the latest generation of linear accelerators, including EDGE and TrueBeam. The team treats over 6,000 patients annually.
EDGE is an innovative system used for the treatment of primary tumors and metastases in the brain and liver, lung tumors in their initial stages, and prostate tumors through stereotactic radiation therapy and radiosurgery. EDGE’s innovative technology allows to administer precise radiation beams that last only a few minutes, which protects surrounding healthy tissues and improves patient experience. Humanitas was the third hospital in the world to implement this advanced system.
True Beam is a revolutionary linear accelerator that allows doctors to deliver very high and targeted doses of radiation in a matter of seconds. This system allows treatments that until recently were not possible and is able to cure a wider range of tumors: it represents a new treatment approach for patients with abdominal metastases, as well as inoperable tumors of the liver, pancreas, and lungs.
Apart from its advanced linear accelerators, the Unit uses the latest supporting technologies currently available:
- OBI System (On-board imaging system), consisting of an X-ray tube and an amorphous silicon detector included with the accelerator;
- Software tools for the development of care plans, with modules for Stereotactic Radiosurgery and intensity modulated radiation therapy( IMRT);
- Software for the fusion of images from different imaging techniques (MRI / PET / CT);
- RPM (respiratory Gating): Respiration synchronized imaging and treatment, formed by a system of infrared cameras which monitor the patient’s breathing and allow dose dispensing only in the phase pre-selected by the physician;
- Virtual simulation, comprised of TAC and a dedicated system of three mobile lasers;
- RapidArc and Optimized Intensity Modulated Arc Therapy;
- Computerized management system for the entire process of radiotherapy;
- Cone Beam Computed Tomography, or software that enables a complete CT scan directly to the accelerator for patient positioning and verification;
- Immobilization,repositioning and location systems dedicated to each area of the body.
The use of such technologies ensures high therapeutic effectiveness, while minimizing side effects, due to more precise localization and selection of the areas to be treated.
In addition to the treatment optimization and quality, the Radiotherapy team ensures patients’ comfort within treatment rooms and in the waiting area, by incorporating natural light, wood, and uplifting colors into the spaces.