Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT)
Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) is an advanced form of three-dimensional (3-D) radiotherapy. It uses sophisticated software and hardware to vary the shape and intensity of radiation delivered to different parts of the treatment area. It is one of the most precise forms of external beam radiation therapy available. With IMRT, we effectively increase our chance of curing someone while at the same time decrease their side effects from treatment.
How it works
IMRT allows for more computer-optimization and automated delivery of treatment plans. This means that instead of just planning the treatment in the computer and treating through a fixed set of fields, we use the computer for the treatment itself. This enhancement in accuracy is achieved by the delivery of many tiny radiation beams, rather than a single large radiation beam passing through the body.
Consequently, different parts of an individual field can get different doses. This technology allows us to really zero in on the area we want to treat without harming normal tissues that, even just a few years ago, would not have been possible to spare from the radiation beam.
This technique has made impressive changes in the way we care for patients, and still is not yet used in many institutions. We can now effectively increase our chance of curing someone while at the same time decrease their side effects from treatment.
At the Wendt Regional Cancer Center, treatments are customized to each individual's specific needs.
Prostate cancer and head and neck cancer fit the ideal criteria for IMRT because both have adjacent, sensitive, dose-limiting tissues. Both of these cancers are currently being treated with IMRT at the Wendt Center.
IMRT may be used to treat other types of cancer throughout the body, but IMRT is not for every situation. This technology and treatment plan does not present benefits over conventional radiation therapy treatment in such situations as treating a large homogeneous site. For large homogeneous sites, conventional techniques are used.