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Mark-Free/Tattoo-Free Treatment

A new Standard of Radiation Treatment

Shannon Cancer Center’s Radiation Oncology department is the first facility in the western half of Texas to offer tattoo-free/mark-free radiation treatment. Shannon’s adoption of surface-guided radiation therapy (SGRT) eliminates the need for permanent or semi-permanent tattoos or skin marks for patients undergoing radiation treatments. This exclusive, cutting-edge technology helps Shannon offer more comfortable and more accurate treatment for radiation patients.

Traditionally radiation tattoos or marks have been a common step in radiation therapy, but we have invested in AlignRT® to enhance patient safety and comfort. AlignRT® projects a random series of light patterns on your skin, acting like thousands of virtual tattoos. These images transfer to a software program that monitors your positioning with sub-millimeter accuracy and ensures you are treated in the correct position. AlignRT® can also help protect your heart and healthy tissue from radiation damage.

Surface-guided radiation therapy (SGRT) is a computerized system that uses 3D stereo cameras to track the patient’s position before and during radiation treatments. While traditional radiation therapy relied on a series of tattoos on the patient’s body to help position the patient for treatment, the SGRT system scans the patient’s skin surface and monitors the patient’s position before and during treatment. If the patient moves or shifts during treatment, treatment is automatically paused and radiation therapists can reposition the patient without compromising the effectiveness of the treatment.

Why are tattoos sometimes used?

Marks and tattoos historically helped set patients up by providing alignment to the desired treatment area and were used as a guide at each radiation treatment visit. On average, patients receive three to four tattoos or marks. Advances in technology now allow us to offer tattoo and mark-free treatment.

Are they permanent?

Yes, some centers use permanent tattoos. On average, patients receive three to four small marks. The needle itself can feel like a needle prick or bee sting. Other centers use temporary marks made with a semi-permanent marker. These marks can be inconvenient during treatment as you have to be careful when exercising, swimming, bathing and washing to not remove them.

To learn more about our radiation treatment services at Shannon Cancer Center, call 325.747.2025

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