Radiation Oncology

The first of its kind in Montana, Sidney Health Center installed a TomoTherapy Hi-Art radiation treatment system, which is one of the most advanced cancer treatment systems in the area.

What is TomoTherapy?

TomoTherapy is the newest form of radiation treatment in which 360°, image-guided radiation is delivered to the tumor slice-by-slice. It provides flexibility in the treatment plan and minimizes the radiation exposure to healthy tissue. Like conventional radiation, TomoTherapy can treat many types of cancers such as:

  • Prostate
  • Breast
  • Lung
  • Brain
  • Bone and Soft Tissue
  • Lymphoma
  • Genitourinary
  • Gastrointestinal
  • Head and Neck
  • Gynecologic
  • Skin

How Does it Work?

TomoTherapy can also be used for radiosurgery, in which one dose of radiation is used to destroy the tumor. It has also been identified as an option for those patients requiring re-treatment.  The pre-treatment CT scan ensures that the patient is aligned and positioned properly before the treatment begins.

During the radiation treatment, the couch moves into the machine as a thin beam is rotated around the patient. Rather than utilizing two to six beams, as conventional radiation does, TomoTherapy uses thousands of beams. Each beam has a different intensity and is sent from a different direction, thus creating the 360° treatment.

TomoTherapy can treat all sizes of tumors, in single or multiple areas of the body, and with all the same doses or multiple doses, according to the radiation oncologists prescription. 

For most patients, treatment is given daily, five days a week, from one to eight weeks.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does the  doctor know how much radiation to give me and where to direct it?
Using a specialized computer program and the 3D images from CT, MRI and PET scans, the doctor is able to develop a computer optimized plan. The radiation oncologist will prescribe the amount of radiation that can be safely and effectively given to the cancer area. The Hi-ART TomoTherapy computer will then develop the appropriate pattern and beam intensities to optimize treatment to the cancer while reducing the radiation dose to normal tissue to the lowest amount. 

How long does the actual radiation portion of my appointment last?
The actual treatment takes approximately five minutes.

Is there any pain associated with TomoTherapy?
TomoTherapy is painless. The treatment is like having a CT scan or an x-ray taken. You will hear the machine making some humming and clicking noises during treatment.

Dr. Ralf Kiehl, Radiation Oncologist
TomoTherapy Website
Cancer Care - Medical Oncology