Intensity modulated radiation therapy or IMRT is a progressive method of radiation therapy used to treat both cancerous and noncancerous tumors. IMRT treatment isn’t necessarily used in any case of cancer, but if your doctor suggests IMRT as a treatment, here’s what you need to know.
What is IMRT?
IMRT uses advanced technology to warp photon and proton beams of radiation to adapt to the shape of a specific tumor. Through IMRT, your doctor can more precisely deliver doses of radiation to a tumor while diminishing dosage to adjacent areas.
Treatment is planned using 3-D computed tomography CT or MRI images of the patient in combination with computerized calculations to design dosages that will best conform to the tumor shape.
Who is a candidate for IMRT?
Your doctor will speak with you to determine whether IMRT is the most appropriate radiation treatment for you. This treatment has revolutionized the ability for doctors to disseminate precise radiation for those who may not have been a candidate for traditional radiation, as their tumor or site of their cancer was too close to vital organs to risk radiation.
Which cancers can be treated with IMRT?
IMRT can be used to treat prostate cancer, pelvic cancer, lung cancer, brain tumors, gastrointestinal cancers, and breast cancer. It may also be used to treat lymphoma, gynecologic cancers, and select pediatric cancers. IMRT can be used on nearly all tumors, regardless of their size, shape and location.
How long do IMRT sessions generally last? How many sessions will I need?
Most treatment sessions take around 30 minutes. IMRT requires multiple sessions. Typically, you will have IMRT sessions five days a week for several weeks. The total number of treatments depends on a number of factors, including the type of cancer you have and the size and location of the tumor.
What are the side effects of IMRT?
Since IMRT uses more precise and tailored doses of radiation, the side effects of it are much less than those associated with conventional methods of treatment for the same ailments. Most patients can go back to their normal daily routine immediately following a treatment session.
IMRT has given a new opportunity for patients to treat their cancer in a painless way without harming vulnerable areas of the body nearby. Speak to your doctor to decide the best course of treatment for you.