Drawing marks on a patient’s skin or marking dots with a permanent tattoo has been a common step in the process of radiation therapy. On average, patients receive three to four markings. In certain cases, AlignRT can eliminate the need for tattoos and permanent marks.
For some individuals, radiation tattoos do not bother them. The needle itself can feel like a needle prick or bee sting. And, in the long term, patients may not notice or be bothered by the permanent marking. Some even see it as a positive reminder of their journey through their breast cancer diagnosis and treatment.
Some centers do not use tattoos but will mark out the area to be treated with pens and/or stickers. It is important that these skin marks are kept for the duration of treatment to allow for accurate positioning each day. You will need to be careful when bathing and washing to not remove these marks.
The good news is there are new technologies that can eliminate the need for tattoos or skin marks.
AlignRT® uses thousands of virtual tattoos using light on your skin. This helps position you with sub-millimeter accuracy and tracks your position during treatment, to ensure you are only treated in the correct position with similar or better accuracy to marks. AlignRT® has been shown in several studies to be more accurate than either marks or tattoos for ensuring patients are properly positioned prior to radiation therapy 1,2,3. AlignRT® can also be used to automatically pause radiation if you move out of the desired position during treatment.