An operation consisting of sampling a fragment of an organ or a tumour for analysis, without general anaesthesia.
Internal radiotherapy modality using small radioactive sources placed temporarily in contact with the area to be treated. High dose-rate brachytherapy (HDR): In this case, the treatment lasts a few minutes and is repeated between 2 and 10 times, at a rate of one to several times a week. This type of treatment usually does not require hospitalisation, unless the placement of non-radioactive carrier material requires general anaesthesia.
Low dose-rate brachytherapy (LDR): Radioactive sources (the size of a grain) are left in place continuously for several days. This treatment requires hospitalisation for a few days.
Brachytherapy is usually performed on an outpatient basis. The number of sessions is quite small (between two and seven sessions) and is shorter than external radiation therapy.
A disease characterised by abnormal and uncontrolled growth of certain cells.
Cancerology or oncology
Scientific or medical discipline that studies and treats cancer.
Treatment with chemicals absorbed orally and/or by infusion. Chemotherapy is based on the use of drugs and is aimed at eliminating cancer cells regardless of where they are in the body. Chemotherapy only begins after a check-up (radiological and biological examinations) to confirm that it is justified and that the patient can bear it: this is called a pre-therapeutic check-up. Chemotherapy drugs are administered orally or intravenously over one or more days.
Orally, tablets should be taken at a certain time of the day and at a certain frequency, which is prescribed by the doctor. Intravenously, chemotherapy is given by injection, either through a port placed under the skin of the chest (connected to a vein by a small tube) or directly into a vein, and then an infusion is installed.
Treatment is given over one or more days: it is called a chemotherapy cycle. An alternation of treatment and rest period is provided between two cycles to allow the body to recover from possible side effects. The medical team adapts the number of treatments and the administration method according to each patient. The duration of hospitalisation is variable. The effects of treatment on the tumour and how the person bears the drugs are evaluated during the monitoring consultations and through the various examinations. Depending on these elements, the doctor sometimes changes the course and duration of chemotherapy: it is adapted to each person treated and is not proportional to the severity of the disease. Blood tests taken before each treatment cycle allow the doctor to check the patient’s health status before each chemotherapy cycle and give the “green light” to start or continue treatment.
Fixed or rotational field IMRT guided by three-dimensional anatomical imaging before the treatment session. This 3D diagnostic imaging guide checks daily that the target (tumour) is at the location provided in the treatment plan. It allows the patient’s position to be readjusted, if necessary, and provides an additional guarantee of the accuracy of the dose distribution provided for in the treatment plan.
Conformational intensity modulation radiotherapy (IMRT) is a technique that allows the radiation beam to be modulated at different intensities via a computer-controlled multi-array collimator. The device’s blades move back and forth to perfectly adapt the radiation beam to the shape of the tumour. The beams are directed at different angles to target the tumour with the best possible dose. Conformational radiation therapy has major advantages: the dose of radiation is concentrated on the volume of the cancerous tumour, thus sparing healthy tissues and organs.
In addition, thanks to IMRT, it is easier to treat complex-shaped tumours. The benefit for the patient is twofold: the side effects are less and the risk of recurrence of the tumour is reduced.
Positron emission tomography scan: A medical imaging technique that establishes a functional diagnosis in the field of cancer.
A high-precision technique consisting in delivering a high dose of radiation to a small volume to be treated while sparing as much as possible the healthy tissues around the lesion.
Dynamic arc therapy or volumetric modulated arc therapy (VMAT) allows circular irradiation with a continuous adaptation of the position of the multi-line collimator’s blades according to the beam’s angle of the incidence concerning the target and the organs at risk. For this type of treatment, the machine performs rotations during irradiation. Treatment planning with VMAT is much more accurate and healthy tissues receive only a fraction of the radiation. This innovative technique, combined with image-guided irradiation processes, ensures high-precision treatment. In addition, the treatment time is reduced from 25-30 minutes to only 10-15 minutes. Treatment with VMAT is therefore not only faster, but also more accurate, with minimal side effects.
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