Yet more needs to be done, and we at Philips are busy making an impact in the fight against cancer on all fronts, from prevention to diagnosis to treatment and home care – something that we call ‘the health continuum.’ One area of focus is radiation therapy, which uses high-energy particles or waves to destroy or damage cancer cells. It is one of the most common treatments for cancer, either by itself or along with other forms of treatment, according to the American Cancer Society. This field has seen a lot of development in recent years, as sophisticated imaging and software has allowed the clinical team to create high quality treatment plans to hit the tumor and avoid healthy cells as much as possible.
Treatment delivery devices, such as the Linear Accelerator or LINAC, can now deliver the radiation precisely in many ways, personalized to that individual, as determined by the treatment plan. The treatment itself, performed on an outpatient basis, takes several weeks, and the very fact that the use of radiotherapy is increasing suggests that this treatment technique is providing high quality results.
Seeing the Cancer Journey Through a Patient’s Eyes
At the outset, it seems that we’ve addressed all the problems and everything is fine. But that’s not the whole story. And this becomes evident when we see the journey through the eyes of a patient.
There’s a lot of uncertainty, worrying and waiting involved for the first appointment with the oncologist. During this consultation, the oncologist will describe to the patient a typical treatment course and will try to allay their concerns. Following that, there’s often several days of waiting for the CT scan, also known as a simulation scan. The images of this CT scan, along with other images acquired from MR or PET/CT scanners during diagnosis, will then be used to create an individualized treatment plan.