Radiation therapy is primarily designed to achieve tumour control in a localized area. It is often used in conjunction with surgery to try to cure cases where surgery alone is either not possible or where it would result in significant disfigurement or loss of function. Many tumours with locally aggressive behaviour can be controlled or even cured with a combination of surgery and radiation therapy.
Radiation therapy is often used as an adjunct to treating cancers with a systemic behaviour as well. For some tumours, using radiation to achieve local control with adjuvant chemotherapy to prevent or delay systemic metastasis can be a very successful strategy.
Finally, radiation therapy may be used in a palliative setting. For some cancers, significant pain relief and return to function can be achieved with just one or 2 doses of radiation. For patients with bone lesions, radiation therapy may be the most effective method of pain relief available.
Most radiation therapy protocols are 18-21 fractions given over 4-7 weeks. Veterinary patients must be anesthetized for each treatment.
Point of Excellence: State-of-the-art radiation therapy
Our treatment goal is to deliver the optimal doses of radiation necessary to kill cancer cells without damaging healthy tissue. The key to doing this is our new Linear Accelerator, the first veterinary unit in Canada with Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy capabilities. This technology allows us to create highly complex, 3 dimensional shapes that conform to the tumour outline and to finely control and modulate the intensity of the radiation beam and deliver different doses of radiation to different areas within the treatment field.
Western Veterinary Cancer Centre is pleased to announce the launch of its Stereotactic Radiosurgery Unit (SRS). The first and only program of its kind for veterinary patients in Canada. SRS is a method of delivering curative intent doses of radiation therapy in a very compressed timeframe, usually in 3 treatments given on consecutive days, compared to the 4 – 7 weeks typically required for most conventionally fractioned radiation therapy protocols.