Radiation Oncology involves the precise delivery of radiation to reduce and eliminate cancer cells inside the body. Radiation therapy can be used in combination with other cancer treatments or on its own. Shrinking tumors can often reduce pain, and make other treatments more effective.
Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy Information
Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) has been used in clinics nationwide since 2000. IMRT is a treatment process that uses radiation to kill cancerous tumor cells. When a patient undergoes IMRT treatment, each session is painless, just like getting an X-ray. The radiation is directed toward the cancerous tumor from a linear accelerator.
IMRT is non-invasive. Areas of the body treated with IMRT at the KDH Cancer Treatment Center include:
Specific cancer treatments will be evaluated and determined by your physician. Many factors may determine your course of treatment including type of cancer, location, stage, and your overall health.
Benefits of IMRT
IMRT allows the radiation beam to be shaped, or "modulated" in order to assist with tumor control and side effects. This is accomplished with a precisely manufactured device known as a compensator. Compensators are solid metal, usually brass or aluminum, cut to the shape and size determined by the physician. Each individual patient requires a custom set of compensators, and each compensator is completely unique. The compensators are attached individually to the linear accelerator, and as the radiation beam passes through them, it's shaped in a way that provides the maximum dose to the tumor and the maximum protection to the surrounding healthy tissue. IMRT provides many benefits that conventional therapy cannot. Health tissue and organs can better avoid unnecessary radiation, reducing the risk of acute and chronic damage. This improves a patient's quality of life. IMRT also provides the ability to dose escalate high-risk patients, can improve the ability to target difficult areas, and can even safely re-irradiate patients.
In order to successfully treat with IMRT, several steps must be followed. Physicians use medical imaging software to create a three-dimensional model of the area needing treatment. This helps identify the shape, size, and volume of the tumor. The physician will then develop the treatment plan, which determines both the proper dosage the tumor will receive and the best way to avoid the surrounding tissue and organs. The physician uses this treatment plan to design and order the compensators, which are then milled and shipped to the cancer center.
For more information about IMRT or to ask specific questions, contact Radiation Oncology in the Cancer Treatment Center at 812-801-0180.