Customizing Radiation Treatment for Cancer Patients

The National Institute of Health estimates that 1,685,210 new cases of cancer will be diagnosed in the United States this year.  Every person battling a cancer has a unique condition that requires an individualized treatment. The good news is that new innovations help to increase the survival rate every year.

Radiation therapy is one of the most common treatments for cancer. Regardless of the type of radiation, it kills cancer cells by damaging their DNA until they stop dividing. Unfortunately, radiation therapy can also damage normal cells. Doctors consider this potential damage to normal cells when they plan to use radiation therapy.

Medical device manufacturer .decimal develops patient-specific custom, beam-shaping devices for proton, electron, and photon therapies to help minimize the radiation of normal cells during treatment.  Varying the thickness and material of their modulators can control the intensity of radiation received, helping to ensure that the tumor is treated versus the surrounding healthy tissue and organs – less damage means better results for the patient and faster recovery. Using a combination of SOLIDWORKS design software and CAMWorks, .decimal is able to automate the production process to deliver a device the same day it is requested, regardless of the material.

Once a doctor determines that they will proceed with radiation treatment, the tumor is mapped out from the CT scan data using specialized software. This software also captures information such as the relationship between the tumor, the patient’s body, and the radiation equipment. The data output provides .decimal with all of the necessary parameters needed to define the custom shape and type of modulator needed.


The edited CT scan data is then fed into SOLIDWORKS via application programming interfaces (APIs) where decisions are automatically made about the base features of the modulator, and then the customized shape is automatically created in SOLIDWORKS. Once the product design is completed, a customized version of CAMWorks is activated and the CNC toolpath is generated in a matter of minutes.

decimal_gold.pngThis connection between the two programs allowed .decimal to improve their productivity by 50 to 70 percent. They create an average of 85 unique, customized devices every day – an estimated 50,000+ devices that have been used in treatment.

Click on the banner below to hear the story from owner Richard Sweat and his staff. Learn more about SOLIDWORKS design-to-manufacturing solutions.


Kristen Wilson

Kristen Wilson

Senior Manager Brand Offer Marketing, SolidWorks at Dassault Systemes
As the Senior Director of Communications, 3DEXPERIENCE Works, Kristen drives marketing strategy and oversees the team responsible for developing and executing multi-touch marketing plans across the Buyer's Journey, including 3DEXPERIENCE World.
Kristen Wilson
Kristen Wilson