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Radiotherapy is, together with oncologic surgery and chemotherapy, one of the pillars of the modern treatment of cancer.

What is radiotherapy ?

Radiotherapy is a form of local therapy against cancer. Radiotherapy can be used as a sole treatment or as a part of a multimodal treatment protocol. Radiotherapy is most effective in the treatment of metabolically highly active tumours, in which cells vigorously divide. The basic mechanism of radiotherapy is to deliver ionising radiation (energy) to cells and thus irreversibly damage their DNA, which results in cell death. To minimise damage to the surrounding healthy cells, an animal that is to undergo radiotherapy, will first receive a CT scan in order to fully evaluate the local extent of the tumour and its relationship with surrounding tissues and anatomical structures. Having this data, a computer-based planning of the field of irradiation will be performed: damage to the tumour cells will be maximised while damage to the healthy cells and tissues will be minimised and thus side effects of radiotherapy will also be minimised.

For radiation treatment planning at Animal Hospital Postojna, the Elekta XiO planning system is used. The system complements our CT Hitachi 16 Supria device, thus enabling the detailed planning of radiotherapy. To achieve this, CT images are imported into the planning system and, with the help of the software, a radiation oncologist specialist will create an optimal radiotherapy plan for each patient – protecting healthy tissues as much as possible while delivering the effective radiation dose to the tumour, striving to reduce the tumour size or completely destroy it for the best possible quality of life of your animal.

Animals must lie completely still for a short period of time while radiotherapy is performed therefore, short general anaesthesia is mandatory. All animals for which radiotherapy is employed to treat oral tumours will also receive a comprehensive oral/dental treatment at least two weeks prior to the commencement of radiotherapy in order to further minimise side effects.