You have probably heard of radiation therapy treatment for cancer, but what about IMRT

“Intensity-modulated radiation therapy, also known as IMRT, is radiation directly to cancer cells from different angles, while limiting harm to healthy tissues and organs near the cancer. This technique can increase your chances for a cure and will lessen the likelihood of side effects,” says Mark Chisam, M.D., radiation oncologist with Riverside Health System.

Radiation kills cancer cells

Radiation is one of many treatments for cancer and may be used along with chemotherapy, surgery and immunotherapy. 

There are two main types of radiation, internal and external beam. Both forms deliver high energy X-rays to kill cancer cells.

As you might suspect, internal radiation delivers X-rays from inside the body. A common type of internal radiation is used in prostate cancer and involves implanting radioactive seeds in the prostate to radiate cancer.

External beam, on the other hand, targets a specific spot and delivers the radiation from a machine outside of the body. IMRT is one type of external beam radiation that uses multiple small beams of varying intensities to precisely irradiate a tumor.

IMRT delivers precise radiation with varying intensity

“Our goal is to deliver treatment that will target the cancer cells while limiting harm to healthy cells. IMRT is one of the most effective ways to do this,” says Dr. Chisam. 

Your doctor and the rest of the treatment team will use advanced imaging modalities such as MRI scans,  CT scans, or PET scans to create a 3D model of your unique anatomy to plan your treatment. The treatment planning system will allow for an exact calculation of the radiation beam angles and strengths that will correctly target your tumor while minimizing dose to healthy tissue and nearby organs.

The intensity of IMRT is tailored for your specific cancer type and is routinely utilized for cancers such as prostate cancer, lung cancer, brain cancer, sarcomas, and gynecologic cancers.

Tools for precise delivery 

The planning process will include placing markings on your body to line up the machine accurately.  A mask or mold may also be made to help keep the area still during radiation. A facemask is commonly used for treating brain or head and neck cancers, which limits any patient motion, thereby increasing the accuracy of the treatment. 

Learn more about IMRT and if it’s an option for you

IMRT is a remarkable innovation that can treat your cancer and limit side effects to surrounding tissues. As a result, you’ll recover faster so you can get on with life. 

To learn more about IMRT and if it’s an option for you, schedule an appointment with our skilled team of cancer specialists.

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