Glossary of Terms

Adjuvant Treatment: A treatment given in addition to the primary treatment to enhance its effectiveness and reduce the chance of recurrence. Radiation therapy is often used as an adjuvant to surgery.

BAT: (B-Mode Acquisition and Targeting) This is the NOMOS BAT Ulstrasound System used to locate your prostate gland and precisely align the radiation fields. Used only for prostate patients, this ultrasound procedure will occur each day in the treatment room prior to the delivery of the radiation treatment.

Blocks: Pieces of metal alloy that can be used to shape the radiation beam.

Brachytherapy: Internal radiation therapy using an implant of radioactive material placed directly into or near the tumor; also called “internal radiation therapy.”

Cancer: A term for diseases in which abnormal cells divide without control. Cancer cells can invade nearby tissues and can spread through the bloodstream and lymphatic system to other parts of the body.

CTTP: Computerized Tomography Treatment Planner – This is a CT scan done in X-Ray before treatment begins that is a part of the patient’s individual treatment plan. This is not the same as a CT scan for diagnostic purposes.

Dosimetrist: A person who plans and calculates the proper radiation dose for treatment.

External Radiation: The use of radiation from a machine located outside of the body to aim high-energy rays at cancer cells.

Implant: A radioactive source in a small holder that is placed in the body in or near a cancer.

IMRT: Intensity-modulated radiation therapy is an advanced mode of high-precision radiotherapy that utilizes computer-controlled x-ray accelerators to deliver precise radiation doses to a malignant tumor or specific areas within the tumor. The radiation dose is designed to conform to the three-dimensional (3-D) shape of the tumor by modulating – or controlling – the intensity of the radiation beam to focus a higher radiation dose to the tumor while minimizing radiation exposure to surrounding normal tissues.

Palliative Care: Treatment that relieves symptoms but does not cure disease. Palliative care can help people with cancer live more comfortably.

Port Films (or PPFs): Pictures of the radial beams used to treat cancer. They are used to verify the position of the beams and confirm that treatment is delivered to the right place. These films are not the same as x-rays used for diagnostic purposes.

Radiation Oncologist: A doctor who specializes in treating cancer and other diseases with radiation.

Radiation Physicist: The person who makes sure that the radiation machine delivers the right amount of radiation to the treatment site. In consultation with the radiation oncologist, the physicist also determines the treatment schedule that will have the best chance of killing the most cancer cells.

Radiation Therapist: The individual who runs the equipment that delivers the radiation.

Treatment Plan: A radiation oncologist’s prescription describing how a patient should be treated with radiation therapy. The radiation therapy team uses sophisticated treatment planning software to maximize radiation to the tumor while sparing healthy tissue.

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