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Targeting Cancer with Radiotherapy

October 31, 2014

Targeting Cancer with Radiotherapy

The "C" Word

No one likes to hear the word cancer, especially when it affects you or someone you love. Every year, some 14 million people worldwide receive that terrible diagnosis, and those numbers will nearly double over the next 20 years.

Yes, cancer is scary, and it is perfectly normal be frightened by its diagnosis. Fortunately, advances in radiotherapy – one of the primary means to treat and defeat cancer -- have come a long way since the days of Madame Curie. In fact, radiotherapy, or radiation oncology, is not what you may think. Unlike the type of radiation people associate with atomic bombs and nuclear power plants, the radiation used in cancer treatment is highly focused, controllable, and generally safe.

How External-beam Radiotherapy Works

External radiotherapy uses a machine that aims radiation at your cancer. It kills cancer cells by damaging their DNA, the material that helps those cells multiple. PerkinElmer’s flat panel X-ray detectors are components in X-ray systems to enable them to acquire high resolution images, which provide radiation oncologists and therapists with high-contrast images to help guide the high-energy radiation beam that targets the cancer. If you have a specific cancer, you will only receive radiation to that specific area and not the rest of your body.

Are Things Better?

Thanks to new discoveries in the early detection and treatment of many forms of cancer, the answer to that question is increasingly “yes.” With highly advanced scanning technologies from companies like PerkinElmer providing components for and working closely with medical equipment manufacturers around the globe, many cancer patients are now closely monitored following cancer surgery and radiotherapy using 3D digital scans to see if the cancer has responded or gone away. If radiotherapy is provided as palliative treatment, the relief of symptoms can actually be seen by medical professionals as proof that treatments are working.

What is in Store for the Future?

Yes, cancer is a scary thing. But, medical imaging technology continues to advance against cancers of every type. Oncologists already see a future of image-guided treatment planning that will ultimately lead to higher cure rates and less treatment-associated toxicity. With still more precise 3D imaging systems on the way to guide physicians in the war on cancer, the old rallying cry of a cure for cancer may well be that much closer to becoming reality.

Unless otherwise specified, PerkinElmer Flat Panel X-ray Detectors are components intended to be integrated into products by X-ray system manufacturers. System manufacturers are responsible for qualifying and validating their products for their intended uses and meeting all applicable regulatory requirements.

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