External-Beam Radiation Therapy

At the University of Florida Shands Cancer Center, a variety of machines provide patients with external-beam radiation therapy. External beam therapy is a common technique used to treat malignant tumors or benign lesions through the delivery of high doses of x-rays or electrons.

A linear accelerator is a device that generates high-energy x-rays and electrons for cancer treatment.  The high-energy x-ray beams penetrate deep into the body and spare more superficial tissues, whereas electrons penetrate only superficially and spare deeper structures.  X-rays and electrons of different energies allow the radiation oncologist to customize the treatment according to a patient’s specific needs.  The linear accelerator is capable of rotating around a patient lying on a treatment couch, treating the tumor from several angles.  This allows the delivery of high doses of radiation to the tumor while reducing the dose to the normal surrounding tissues.

The following linear accelerators are used by Radiation Oncology at the University of Florida: