One of many types of radiation therapy, 3-D conformal radiation is a technique that allows doctors to precisely direct radiation beams to conform to the shape of the tumor. Compared with traditional, 2-D radiation therapy, 3-D conformal radiation more precisely delivers radiation to cancer cells, while reducing the amount of radiation to healthy cells. This advanced form of radiation therapy is used to treat cancerous and noncancerous tumors throughout the body.

To prepare for 3-D conformal radiation, specialists use advanced technology to plot the path of multiple radiation beams that will be aimed at the tumor from different directions. During 3-D conformal radiation, the beams deliver a set treatment dose, which is spread around the surrounding normal tissue to minimize the dose to any one area.

Read more about radiation therapy.

  • Teamwork. Mayo Clinic's highly trained radiation oncology treatment team includes radiation oncologists, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, radiation therapists, oncology nurses, dietitians, medical social workers, treatment planners (dosimetrists) and medical physicists. Your radiation oncology team works closely with medical oncologists, surgeons and other experts to coordinate the best care for you.
  • Experience. Mayo Clinic radiation oncologists have experience planning and delivering 3-D conformal radiation treatment for many different types of cancer. Cancers that may benefit from 3-D conformal radiation treatment include those of the bladder, brain, breast, esophagus, liver, lung, lymphatic system, pancreas, rectum and stomach, among others.
  • Latest technology. Mayo Clinic radiation oncologists have access to the latest in radiation treatment technology. More advanced forms of 3-D conformal radiation therapy, including intensity-modulated radiation therapy, image-guided radiation therapy, adaptive radiation therapy and stereotactic radiosurgery, are available at Mayo Clinic.
  • Comprehensive cancer center. Mayo Clinic Cancer Center meets strict standards for a National Cancer Institute comprehensive cancer center, which recognizes scientific excellence and a multidisciplinary approach to cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla., and Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Ariz., are ranked among the Best Hospitals for cancer by U.S. News & World Report.

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Research into 3-D conformal radiation and other advanced forms of radiation therapy is done in conjunction with the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center. The Mayo Clinic Cancer Center has been designated a comprehensive cancer center by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). NCI-designated cancer centers are characterized by scientific excellence and the capability to integrate a diversity of research approaches to focus on the problem of cancer.


See a list of publications by Mayo Clinic authors on 3-D conformal radiation on PubMed, a service of the National Library of Medicine.

Aug. 14, 2012