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Our Varian Clinac 1800 Linear Accelerator utilizes both electron and photon therapies and is one of the country's few accelerators that has electrons available for veterinary patients. While photon therapy is employed in many situations, and allows for significant penetrance through thick or deep structures of the body, the unique benefit of electron therapy is the ability to provide effective, high-dose radiation to superficial cancers while sparing surrounding healthy tissue and underlying organs in those locations otherwise vulnerable to photon penetration. For clients seeking the latest advances, computer generated treatment planning is available as well.
We create a comprehensive, individualized treatment plan for every patient. Definitive treatment planning and dosage calculations aim to maximize delivery of therapeutic radiation to the tumor region while minimizing side effects or damage to normal tissue. Treatments last from thirty minutes to one hour. In order to deliver radiation safely and effectively, all patients are lightly anesthetized during treatment. Most patients are ready to go home within 15 minutes of receiving treatment.
The scheduling and overall number of radiation treatments are recommended on an individual basis. In general, delivering many small doses of radiation over the shortest period of time increases the chance of tumor control while it decreases the likelihood of side effects to normal tissue. When treating to cure or achieve long term control, most patients receive 15-21 treatments over 3-7 weeks. For cases where cure is unlikely, palliative care for the acute relief of suffering involves 4-7 treatments over a similar time period. Side effects, often owners greatest concern, are typically less severe than most people anticipate. Dependent on the region and type of tissue treated, side effects are variable and will be thoroughly discussed during your consultation.
Because of the unique dynamics and variable effects of cancer in individuals, the ultimate goal of treatment will vary from cure to control to the temporary relief of clinical signs such as pain. Rest assured that your pet's quality of life as well as your family's needs and wishes will always provide the cornerstone of any treatment plan pursued at Portland Veterinary Oncology Center.