Radiation oncologists face a special challenge when treating cancers of the lung. These tumors move in conjunction with the patient's breathing cycle. Until the recent introduction of respiratory gating, caregivers had to irradiate a larger-than-ideal area in order to treat the entire tumor. Moreover, they were required to use a less-than-optimal dose of radiation in order to minimize damage to normal tissue. This is because breathing can cause tumors to move out of the radiation treatment field.
Respiratory gating which uses PET/CT radiation technology tracks motion within the patient's breathing cycle. The radiation beam works with the patient's breathing cycle and turns on only when the tumor is in the targeted range. This synchronized treatment allows for precise targeting of the tumor, sparing healthy tissue and increasing chances for a cure. It also reduces complications and side effects and improves outcomes.
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