A linear accelerator (LINAC) is a machine that generates energy for external beam radiation
treatments for cancer.
The linear accelerator causes electrons to speed up as they pass through a wave-guide and shoots the particles at a heavy metal target, forming high-energy X-rays. Lines of accelerated x-ray radiation are shaped to target a tumor or surgery site, limiting radiation exposure to healthy tissue while killing cancer cells.
Also Known As: linac, mega-voltage linear accelerator, MeV linear accelerator
A linear accelerator is used during whole breast radiation
, accelerated partial breast radiation, and Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT). A portable linear accelerator can be brought into the operating room for intraoperative radiation therapy
(IORT) during a lumpectomy for breast cancer.