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What we do

Bristol Oncology Centre uses the latest in technology and planning techniques in the treatment of cancer. We provide a wide range of specialist treatments, including treatments for paediatrics and adolescents; total body irradiation and chemo-radiation. The following are some of the treatment techniques that we provide:

IGRTNurse at screen

Image Guided Radiotherapy (IGRT) is the use of 2D X-rays or 3D Cone Beam CT scans before and during radiotherapy treatment to show the size,shape and position of the tumour as well as the surrounding tissues and bones.

IGRT allows corrections to be applied that account for twists and tilts in the body, changes in body weight and organ motion. IGRT allows better precision of the radiation fields, potentially allowing smaller treatment beams, therefore reducing the side effects of the treatment. 

IMRT

IMRT is an advanced mode of high precision radiotherapy delivering precise radiation doses to the tumour. By conforming to the shape of the tumour, higher doses can be focused to the area whilst minimising the dose to normal tissue. Each radiation beam is divided into many small segments that can vary in their intensity.

Intensity Modulated Radiotherapy (IMRT) treatment has been delivered in Bristol since 2010 and is routinely used to treat many different cancer types including Prostate, head and neck, GI and sarcoma cancers.

VMAT

Volume Modulated Arc Therapy (VMAT) allows X-rays to be conformed to the shape of the tumour whilst ensuring that the dose to your surrounding tissues and organs is as small as possible.

Whilst delivering VMAT treatment the machine will rotate in an arc around you at the same time as delivering the radiotherapy treatment. As the machine moves the shape of the beam is also continuously changing.

Using this treatment technique we are able to vary the intensity and shape of the treatment beam. It allows us to treat the tumour from many different angles ensuring complete tumour coverage, and means a higher dose of radiation can be delivered to the tumour whilst reducing or minimising the side effects of the treatment. VMAT treatments are quicker treatments to deliver, meaning that you should be on the treatment bed for a shorter length of time.

In Bristol we treated our first VMAT patient in June 2014. VMAT treatments may be used for tumours that are near sensitive organs that we do not want to treat, and we routinely use VMAT for treating certain Gynae, Lung, Oesophagus, and Head and Neck cancers.

SABR

Stereotactic Ablative Body Radiotherapy (SABR) has been used as a specialist treatment technique in Bristol since November 2013.

SABR can be used to treat many different cancer types including cancers of the lung, pancreas and spleen. Each case is considered on an individual basis and we consider many factors including the type of cancer and its position in the body.

SABR treatments are typically delivered using the same VMAT delivery technique already mentioned. However with SABR treatment, the dose delivered to the tumour each day is much larger than for other treatments, meaning we are able to complete the course of treatment over a shorter period of time. Instead of 20-30 treatments, SABR can be delivered over 3, 5 or 8 treatments.

Due to the very high doses delivered each treatment, IGRT plays a vital role in this technique. Cone beam scans will be taken and assessed before and during at each treatment.