TomoTherapy Radiation Therapy

TomoTherapy Radiation for Cancer Treatment


The OHSU Knight Cancer Institute offers the newest in TomoTherapy® technology and the only one in the Pacific Northwest, providing reduced cancer treatment times and more accurate radiation therapy for even the smallest tumors. TomoTherapy® TomoHD™ is an all-in-one system that lets your physicians scan and treat you with a single piece of equipment, which makes it faster, more accurate and more convenient. At the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute, TomoTherapy is used to treat:

  • pediatric cancers
  • complex head and neck cancers
  • rectal and anal cancers
  • pancreatic cancers

46882_thumb_TomoHD_wOverlayWhat is TomoTherapy?

TomoTherapy® TomoHD™ is a system that delivers advanced, image-guided, intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT). It is the only radiation therapy system designed on a CT scanner foundation. TomoTherapy is extremely precise, because it uses daily CTrue™ imaging to guide your radiation treatment each day – so your doctors can adjust your treatment as they go based on even the smallest changes in your anatomy. Not only does the system itself physically revolve around your body during treatment, it also allows your doctor to customize certain aspects of your cancer treatment in ways formerly not possible.


What to expect from TomoTherapy treatment

A typical course of radiation therapy involves a daily visit Monday through Friday. The number of treatments will depend on your cancer. In general, the full daily TomoTherapy procedure takes 10 to 20 minutes from the time you enter the treatment room until you leave.

You will be taken to the treatment room where a radiation therapist will help you onto the TomoTherapy system's couch. You will most likely lie on your back, and your therapist may fit you with a special device to comfortably help you remain still during treatment. If imaging is necessary, the couch will move you through the ring once for daily CTrue™ imaging. Based on these CT images, the therapist may fine tune your position via small couch adjustments. Then the couch will move you through the ring once again, this time more slowly, as the TomoTherapy system delivers your daily treatment. You'll hear hums and clicks of the system at work – calibrating to your customized cancer treatment plan – but treatment is comfortable and peaceful.


Are there side effects?

Whether you have side effects depends on many factors, including your medical condition, general health and any other treatments you receive. Side effects of TomoTherapy may include diarrhea, leg swelling, bladder issues and skin problems.


Is TomoTherapy right for you?

Your OHSU Knight Cancer Institute team will work with you and your doctor to make that decision. More than 3 million TomoTherapy radiation treatments have been delivered worldwide since 2003. Be sure to ask your doctor if TomoTherapy is an option for you.