External beam radiation therapy delivers radiation to the pelvis from a machine outside the body called a linear accelerator. External beam radiation therapy is often used to eliminate cancer cells that may remain in the pelvis after surgery.
During this treatment, you lie down on a table while the machine rotates around you, delivering radiation from different directions for approximately 15 to 20 minutes.
NYU Langone doctors use the following types of external beam radiation therapy for women with endometrial cancer.
Three-Dimensional Conformal Radiation Therapy
In three-dimensional conformal radiation therapy, the radiation dose is based on the tumor’s height, length, and depth. Treatment is delivered once a day, five days a week, over the course of several weeks.
Dividing the radiation into smaller doses called fractions reduces the risk of radiation exposure to nearby tissue, thereby decreasing the chance of side effects.
Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy
Intensity modulated radiation therapy divides the radiation into “minibeams,” or many small, computer-controlled doses of different strengths. With intensity modulated radiation therapy, the doctor can tailor the radiation dose to the size, shape, and location of the tumor. This technique also prevents radiation from affecting healthy tissue in the intestines and bladder.
Intensity modulated radiation therapy is performed once a day, five days a week, over the course of several weeks.
Volumetric Modulated Arc Radiation Therapy
This type of therapy allows the linear accelerator to move around you in one or several 360-degree rotations during each treatment. This means radiation can be given from almost any angle, allowing doctors to target the tumor while avoiding healthy tissue. Physicians are also able to adjust the angle and intensity of the radiation beams without stopping treatment.
Because this radiation therapy is given without interruption, treatment sessions may be shorter than with other types of external beam radiation therapy. Sessions are given once daily, five days a week, over the course of several weeks.
Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy
Stereotactic body radiation therapy delivers a few high doses of carefully targeted radiation beams. This occurs several days a week for a few weeks.
Your doctor may use this approach to treat small endometrial tumors if you are older or too ill to have surgery. Our doctors may also recommend stereotactic body radiation therapy if other types of external beam therapy do not eliminate the cancer.
As with other forms of radiation therapy at NYU Langone, this approach uses computer and image guidance to precisely target the tumor while avoiding healthy tissue.