- Cancer Information
- Cancer treatment
- Radiation therapy
- External beam radiation therapy (EBRT)
- Specialised types of EBRT
Specialised types of EBRT
Below we describe the specialised types of external beam radiation therapy (EBRT).
Learn more about:
Total body irradiation (TBI)
This is a form of radiation therapy that’s given to the whole body for blood cancers. Sometimes TBI is given with chemotherapy to prepare people for a stem cell or bone marrow transplant.
You will be admitted to hospital before you have TBI. A course of TBI is usually given in very low doses, twice a day over 2–4 days, with the treatments being at least six hours apart. Side effects may include nausea, diarrhoea, fatigue and skin redness.
This type of EBRT, uses radiation from protons rather than x-rays. Protons are tiny parts of atoms with a positive charge that release most of their radiation within the cancer. This is different to standard radiation therapy beams, which pass through the area and some nearby healthy tissue.
Special machines called cyclotrons and synchrotrons are used to generate and deliver the protons. Proton therapy is useful when the cancer is near sensitive areas, such as the brain stem or spinal cord, especially in children. Using proton therapy may help to reduce side effects.
Proton therapy is not yet available in Australia (as at December 2021), but there is funding in special cases to allow Australians to travel overseas for treatment.
Podcast: Making Treatment Decisions
Download a PDF booklet on this topic.
Prof June Corry, Radiation Oncologist, GenesisCare, St Vincent’s Hospital, VIC; Prof Bryan Burmeister, Senior Radiation Oncologist, GenesisCare Fraser Coast, Hervey Bay Hospital, and The University of Queensland, QLD; Sandra Donaldson, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council WA; Jane Freeman, Accredited Practising Dietitian (Cancer specialist), Canutrition, NSW; Sinead Hanley, Consumer; David Jolly, Senior Medical Physicist, Icon Cancer Centre Richmond, VIC; Christine Kitto, Consumer; A/Prof Grace Kong, Nuclear Medicine Physician, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; A/Prof Sasha Senthi, Radiation Oncologist, The Alfred Hospital and Monash University, VIC; John Spurr, Consumer; Chris Twyford, Clinical Nurse Consultant, Radiation Oncology, Cancer Rapid Assessment Unit and Outpatients, Canberra Hospital, ACT; Gabrielle Vigar, Nurse Unit Manager, Radiation Oncology/Cancer Outpatients, Cancer Program, Royal Adelaide Hospital, SA.
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