Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) is a state-of-the-art cancer treatment that delivers high doses of radiation directly to cancer cells in a very targeted beam. This new technology is much more precise than conventional radiation therapy, so it can deliver higher doses directly to cancer cells while sparing much of the surrounding healthy tissue. Clinical studies indicate that these higher dosages are associated with improved control of tumors while reducing complication rates. OakWood Center Radiation Oncology performs IMRT on the Elekta Synergy®.
IMRT can be used to treat tumors that might have been considered untreatable in the past because they were too close to vital organs and body structures. Treating such tumors requires tremendous accuracy, so computer-generated images are used to plan and then deliver tightly focused radiation beams that conform as closely as possible to the shape of the tumor.
Your physician will create a treatment plan and dosage instructions based on information about tumor size, shape and location in the body. A medical linear accelerator with a
multileaf collimator shapes the radiation beam and delivers the radiation in accordance with the treatment plan. With IMRT, the equipment can be rotated around the patient to send radiation beams from the most favorable angles for treating the tumor while preserving important healthy tissues.
For example, in the case of head and neck tumors, IMRT allows radiation to be delivered while minimizing exposure to the spinal cord, optic nerve, salivary glands, and other important structures. In the case of prostate cancer, exposure of the nearby bladder or rectum can be minimized. Other areas where IMRT may be used as treatment include tumors in the chest, abdomen, and pelvis.