Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) is a special type of radiotherapy that is used to treat both cancerous and noncancerous tumors. IMRT delivers radiation directly at the cancer cells using different angles without causing any damage to the surrounding healthy tissues.
In IMRT, multiple small photon or proton beams of different intensities are used to which specifically target the tumor. The radiation intensity can be regulated, depending on the nature of the tumor and the shape of the radiation beam can also be changed with each treatment.Thus, high-intensity radiations are used since they are delivered only to the affected area. That's why the side effects are also lesser than the conventional radiation therapies that are used to treat cancer. IMRT can treat most types of cancer. But it mostly used to treat
● prostate cancer
● head and neck cancers
● lung cancer
● brain cancer
● gastrointestinal cancers
● breast cancer
The above tumors are present inside or around highly critical organs and tissues in the body.
IMRT is also used to treat lymphoma, sarcoma, gynecologic cancers, and some pediatric cancers.
There are several advantages of Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) over conventional radiation therapy used to treat cancer. They are:
● More precise delivery of radiation.
● Better confirmation, localization and monitoring to evaluate the position, size and shape of the tumor before and during treatment
● The possibility of use of higher doses of radiation to kill the cancer
● Decreased radiation exposure, saving damage to healthy tissues.
● Lesser side effects than conventional radiation therapy.
The radiation therapist may use several imaging technologies like PET, MRI, and CT to mark the precise location of the cancer present in the body, both before and during IMRT.
Before your IMRT treatment session, every time your radiation therapist will place you on the treatment table. Once your body is properly positioned, the doctor will take several scans of your body. Then the therapist will take several images and move your body again when your treatment starts so that the radiation is delivered to the exact location of cancer.
The doctor will use advanced computer programs that will help to calculate and transmit the radiation beam directly to the tumor from different angles.
Each IMRT session takes between 10 and 30 minute to complete.
Once the IMRT begins, the therapist continuously keeps monitoring and adapting the imaging technologies by seeing the changes that occur in your tumor, like shrinkage, growth, or any other changes in shape or location.
IMRT treatment requires several sessions in order to treat cancer effectively. Your radiation therapist may conduct IMRT on you for five days a week for several weeks. But the number of IMRT treatments you may undergo will depend on several factors such as the type of cancer you have and the size and location of the tumor.