Metastatic Cancer – Palliative Radiotherapy
What is Palliative Radiotherapy?
Radiotherapy uses high energy rays to treat cancer. Palliative treatment means treatment to shrink a cancer, slow down its growth, or control symptoms. It does not aim to cure the cancer. Doctors use palliative radiotherapy to help shrink an advanced cancer. Or they can use it to control symptoms of a metastatic cancer (a cancer that has spread) to give a better quality of life.
Depending on the type of cancer you have, and where it has spread to, you may be offered radiotherapy as an effective means of controlling or slowing down the disease.
External Beam Radiotherapy
External beam radiotherapy works very well for treating cancer cells in one area of the body or several distinct areas. This type of radiotherapy uses strong X-rays, which only treat the area of the body they are aimed at. You can have external beam radiotherapy to more than one area at the same time.
Influencing and Improving Patient Outcomes
Adelaide Radiotherapy Centre’s palliative radiation therapy protocols now utilise the high precision and technology tools traditionally applied in the curative patient setting. Using a conformal planning and treatment approach, the total dose and dose per fraction are precisely defined and targeted enabling improved coverage of our target volume whilst significantly sparing adjacent healthy tissue; reducing side effects and co morbidities. These methods are very effective in addressing tumour control and symptom relief and are delivered efficiently to better simplify the patient journey, minimise treatment times, side effects and with added benefit of effective tumour response and pain control. To find out more please download our Optimising Quality of Life in the Palliative Cancer Patient Information Sheet here.
The new palliative care radiation therapy program can be delivered with least inconvenience to the patient and their families. Our Rapid Response Palliative Radiation Therapy Referral program offers a service whereby patients can see one of our Radiation Oncologists and start their active treatment on the same day. It also has the added benefit of better enabling radiation therapy re-treatment options in instances of persistent disease and clinical recurrence.
When is Palliative Radiation Therapy Used?
Palliative Radiation Therapy is used for various reasons including:
- Relief of cancer bone pain
- Treatment of spinal cord compression
- Shrink a tumour to relieve pressure or a blockage
- Treat symptoms of cancer in the brain
- Treat symptoms of cancer in the lungs
- Control ulcerating tumours and reduce bleeding
- Treat a blood vessel blockage called SVCO
- Utilising a high dose stereotactic approach with Stereotactic Ablative Body Radiotherapy (SABR) and Stereotactic Radiosurgery (SRS) to control lung and brain metastases.