Obtaining expensive equipment, such as a linac system, to provide external radiation therapy is a great responsibility for medical facilities. A linear accelerator is crucial in penetrating increased amounts of x-ray energy to conform tumors to destroy cancer cells while maintaining the adjacent healthy tissue. An oncologist specializing in radiation therapy will employ techniques to ensure the appropriate treatment. On account of the expense involved in purchasing linear accelerator equipment there are numerous aspects to think through.
Proprietorship of the Machinery
Most often large equipment is purchased and owned by a group of investors or physicians to provide treatment within a given facility such as a hospital or medical clinic. For many patients this is important because they can guarantee that the treatment is needed instead of being recommended for the profitability of the procedure.
The fear is that if a linear accelerator is privately owned that the radiosurgery or radiotherapy may be a procedure that is recommended because of the funds it brings in rather than necessity. When equipment is owned by a group of individuals, people believe it is less likely that radiotherapy is being prescribed because it is the correct procedure for the patient rather than being prescribed for the profit it brings in.
Intensity of the Equipment
The stronger the equipment, the deeper into the individuals tissues it can infiltrate. The strength of the therapy is not always a direct product of the multiple electron rating of the machine but rather a result of the technique employed to deliver the radiation.
Imaging Tools Being Used
Depending on where the tumor being target is located often determines the imaging tool that is utilized to deliver radiation therapy. An MRI is the preferred imaging method in targeting a brain tumor. It provides a view of the inside of the body that is unmatched. MRI's show a clear image of the normal tissue in comparison to the brain tumor tissue.
CT Scanning employs x-ray technology to scan tumors. Bone close to the tumor muddles the clear image produced with CT imaging. The borders of the tumors are unable to be seen on CT scans. Details of soft tissues are highly visible on MRI scans over CT scans.
Certain linear accelerator technology can only use CT scanning where as others can blend both MRI and CT images to create a complete and more accurate representation of the tumor.
The Support from a Public Entity
The backing of a public entity is important for medical equipment. The backing of a public entity means that the equipment has been tested for safety and clinical application. This ensures that the U.S. SEC standards for financing and ethical standards have been met and that annual reports are obtainable to consumers. Without public backing technology only need to be approved through the FDA with very little clinical testing. All that has to be done is that the manufacturer has to state that the equipment is comparable to current technology that already exists within the market.
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