Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT)
Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) utilizes computer-controlled X-ray accelerators to deliver precise radiation doses to a malignant tumor. The IMRT technology is so advanced that the accelerator can be programmed to actually wrap and angle beams of radiation around normal tissue and organs, protecting "good cells" as they destroy the tumor.
IMRT focuses concentrated radiation on the affected site, to get higher radiation doses to the tumor and spare the normal tissue, even in cases where the normal tissue is side-by-side with the tumor. In other words, this procedure allows pinpoint accuracy to control tumors. It results in more radiation to the tumor and less to surrounding healthy tissue.
IMRT can be used effectively to treat a number of different cancers. They include cancers of the:
- Head and neck;
- Pancreas and Gastrointestinal system.
In order to pinpoint the exact location of the tumor, doctors use several types of scanning procedures, including computed tomography (CT), positron emission tomography (PET) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
Each IMRT treatment session lasts 15 to 20 minutes, and may occur over several weeks on an outpatient basis. Like conventional beam radiation, IMRT is painless. However, because IMRT can direct a higher dose of radiation to cancer cells and spare surrounding healthy cells from unnecessary exposure, tumor control is much better and patients experience fewer side effects. As a result, patients remain stronger and lead more normal lives during treatment.
For more information, call the Lourdes Cancer Center at 609-835-5432.