Radiation Therapy Techniques For Gynecological Cancers
External Beam Radiation Therapy
The most common external beam radiotherapy approach in patients with gynecologic cancers is whole pelvic radiotherapy. Typically, four separate fields are used (opposed anterior-posterior beams and opposed lateral fields). Each field is shaped shielding as much as possible the surrounding normal tissues, particularly the small intestines and rectum.
Conventional 4-field “box” technique
More comprehensive treatment fields are used in select gynecology patients, for example pelvic plus inguinal (groin) irradiation in vaginal cancers patients due to the potential involvement of tumor to the groin lymph nodes. Other patients may require irradiation of the para-aortic lymph nodes in the abdomen in conjunction with pelvic radiotherapy, a technique known as extended field irradiation.
Although less commonly used today, select gynecology patients have been treated with fields encompassing the entire abdomen (whole abdominal irradiation).