Linear Accelerator (LINAC)
A linear accelerator (LINAC) customizes high energy x-rays to conform to a tumor’s shape and destroy cancer cells while sparing surrounding normal tissue. The radiation levels can be categorized as follows:
1. 6 MV suitable for abnormalities no deeper than 10
2. 18 MV suitable for abnormalities deeper than 10
LINAC is able to offer Conventional therapy, 3D-CRT (Three dimensions conformal radiation therapy), or IMRT (Intensity modulated radiation therapy) and can be used on any part of the body.
Indication for LINAC use
- Brain tumors
- Cancer that has spread to the brain or a reccurrence of a brain tumor
- Cancer around the head and neck area
- Spine, prostate, and lug cancer
- Tumors located in areas where vital organs are sensitive to radiation
Advantages of LINAC
- Advanced technology that offers higher accuracy treatment
- Suitable for tumors in areas where vital organs are sensitive to radiation
- Able to make adjustments to suit the tumor’s size and shape
- Reduce damage done to tissue and surrounding organs
- Reduces time required for radiological therapy
- Patients do not need to be hospitalized
Preparation Before LINAC
- The patient should receive a health check-up as well as a detailed medical history check. Blood tests will also be required.
- Recommended to wear comfortable and loose fitting clothes
- Diet- eat beneficial/nutritional food. Drink at least 6-8 glass of water while reducing smoking and alcohol consumption
- Have a good oral and body hygiene.
- In case you have a pre-existing condition or are on medication it is recommended to inform your attending physician and ask if you should continue consumption
- Proecedure may take some time, as such try to set a side an appropriate amount of time, as well as prepare your travel and accomodation needs.
Risks and Side-effects of LINAC
- Changes in the area of skin that received therapy. For 1-2 weeks your skin may swell, redden, become dry, itch, peel off, scabs.
- Feelings of weariness are normal symptoms after radiation exposure, other symptoms may include a decrease in appetite
- Low immunity, paleness, easily bleeding. This is due to radiation exposure affecting the function of bone marrow (if treatment was given to areas with high concentration). A CBC test may be conducted.
- Complications such as Mucositis and diarrhea
- Dry mouth, especially treatment given in the head, neck, salivary gland areas
- Symptoms associated with the gastrointestinal tract
- Neurological symptoms if treatment was given to the brain area
- Symptoms to do with reproductive system for example if therapy was provided in the pelvic area. In men it can lead to erectile dysfunction, women may experience hormonal changes.