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Cancer Center

TrueBeam Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to frequently asked questions about Varian TrueBeam radiation

What is the TrueBeam radiotherapy system?

TrueBeam is an advanced radiation therapy system that delivers concentrated beams of radiation to tumors in the body. Each TrueBeam treatment consists of a beam of radiation (or collection of beams) generated by a linear accelerator from inside the TrueBeam system.

TrueBeam allows pinpoint positioning and CT imaging through advanced imaging technology. The treatment beam can be targeted to a tumor from multiple angles to strike the target in a complete three-dimensional way. The goal is to deliver the lowest possible dose to the surrounding healthy tissue, while still releasing the maximum dose to the tumor.

What are the benefits of TrueBeam?

  • TrueBeam is highly accurate and can be used to treat both large and small tumors, as well as tumors in hard-to-reach areas.
  • TrueBeam's synchronized system allows for quick, high-dose treatments in shorter treatment times.
  • A respiratory monitoring system controls beam delivery during respiration, so patients can breathe naturally and comfortably during treatment without misdirecting the radiation target.
  • Doctors have the flexibility to customize treatments for patients, which allows them to choose the best treatment for each particular case
  • Doctors can view the tumor being treated in "real time."
  • The technology allows clinicians to use significantly less X-ray doses compared to other types of technology.
  • Two-way communication between the patient and clinician operating the TrueBeam and built in music enhance patient comfort.

Can TrueBeam treat all types of cancer?

Due to its accuracy, the TrueBeam system can be used to treat many forms of tumors, including those located in sensitive areas. The TrueBeam system may not be appropriate for all cancers, however.

How does the TrueBeam system deliver radiation?

Radiation is generated by a machine called a medical linear accelerator. The patient is positioned on a treatment table. The TrueBeam machine rotates around the patient at various angles. The clinician who is running the machine from another area is in constant contact with the patient. This faster delivery also reduces the chance of tumor movement during treatment, chich helps protect nearby tissues.

Are there any side effects from TrueBeam treatment?

Radiation therapy, although not painful, can cause uncomfortable side effects. These can include diarrhea, nausea, swelling at the treatment site, red and irritated skin, lymphedema and secondary cancer. Talk to your doctor about what you can expect from your treatment and to find out if treatment with the TrueBeam radiotherapy system is right for you.

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