3D CRT is one of the most common forms of external beam radiation therapy. The radiation beams are customized to match the shape of the tumor.

In the past, radiation beams only matched the height and width of the tumor — exposing healthy tissue to radiation. Advances in imaging technology have made it possible to locate and treat the tumor more precisely.

Conformal radiation therapy uses CT planning images and sometimes other scans, such as MRI scans to focus precisely on the tumor, while avoiding the healthy surrounding tissue.

This exact targeting makes it possible to plan the radiotherapy treatment area very precisely in 3 dimensions – width, height and depth.

Radiation used for cancer treatment can be divided into 2 major types: Photon radiation (x-rays and gamma rays) and particle radiation (such as protons, neutrons, carbon ion beam, alpha particles and beta particles)

Protons are positively charged parts of atoms. A machine called a synchrotron or cyclotron speeds up the protons, which are then directed precisely at the tumour. After protons reach the desired place in the body, they deposit the specified radiation dose in the tumour.

With proton therapy, there is minimal radiation dose beyond the target area. Thus, it is able to deliver precise radiation dose to the tumour site while minimizing the damage to surrounding normal tissues and critical structures as compared to conventional radiation therapy.

Read more on proton therapy here.

Our body’s natural immune system is able to protect the body from infection against bacteria and viruses. However, when the immune system is not strong enough to mount a defense or when the immune cells do not recognize cancer cells as ‘foreign’, the cancer remains undetected and is free to grow and spread.

Immunotherapy is a kind of cancer treatment that activates the patient’s immune system’s natural cancer-fighting abilities. Immunotherapy aims to trigger our immune system’s natural abilities to fight off cancer.

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Chemotherapy uses special medications to kill cancer cells. It can be given through oral tablets or with drugs injected into the veins. A combination of drugs is usually given in a series of treatments over a period of a few months, with breaks in between so that you can recover.

Chemotherapy for lung cancer can be given before surgery (to shrink the tumour), or after surgery (where the risk of recurrence is high). It can also be combined with radiotherapy. In cases where the cancer has spread beyond the lung to other parts, chemotherapy may be the primary treatment.

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Some cancers depend on hormones to grow. Examples include breast cancer and prostate cancer. Removing those hormones from the body or blocking their effects may cause the cancer cells to stop growing. Hormone therapy is a cancer treatment that block or alter hormones, thus slowing or stopping the growth of these cancers.

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Targeted therapy is a cancer treatment that uses drugs to target specific genes and proteins that are involved in the growth and survival of cancer cells. Targeted therapy can affect the tissue environment that helps a cancer grow and survive or it can target cells related to cancer growth, like blood vessel cells.

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This treatment uses an extremely cold liquid or an instrument called a cryoprobe to freeze and destroy abnormal tissue. During cryoablation, a cryoprobe is cooled with substances such as liquid nitrogen, liquid nitrous oxide, or compressed argon gas. Cryoablation may be used to treat certain types of cancer and some conditions that may become cancer.

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This treatment uses electrical energy to heat cancer cells, causing them to die. During radiofrequency ablation, a thin needle is guided through the skin or through an incision and into the cancer tissue. High-frequency energy passes through the needle and causes the surrounding tissue to heat up, killing the nearby cells.

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