This time-lapse image shows
a linear accelerator as it
rotates around the patient
to deliver treatment
from nearly any angle.

Linear Accelerators

For decades, a linear accelerator has been the workhorse of the radiation oncologist to treat cancer through a process called external beam radiation therapy.  Our experienced team at Mission Viejo Radiation Oncology Center makes effective use of these complex machines.

How do Linear Accelerators Work? 

Inside the Linear AcceleratorLinear accelerators speed up electrons to nearly the speed of light inside a vacuum tube and direct this electron beam onto a heavy metal target. What emerges from the other side of the target is a narrowly focused beam of high-energy x-rays, also known as photons. These photons can then be directed through a targeting process from many different angles, all converging on the tumor being treated. All of these machines are very complex and can be rotated in an up-and-down as well as side-to-side direction.