Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT)
IMRT is a state-of-the-art cancer treatment method that delivers high doses of radiation directly to cancer cells in a very targeted way, much more precisely than is possible with conventional radiotherapy. IMRT can deliver higher radiation doses directly to cancer cells while sparing more of the surrounding healthy tissue.
It uses computer-generated 3-D images to plan, and then deliver tightly focused radiation beams to cancerous tumors from many different angles. At each of these angles, the intensity of the radiation is varied (modulated) and the shape changed to suit the shape of the tumor. This directs the prescribed amount of radiation to each part of the tumor, and minimizes exposure to the surrounding healthy tissue.
The ability to precisely shape and intensify or decrease the strength of the radiation beam according to tumor size, shape and metabolic activity is unprecedented in the history of radiation oncology and a major advance for multi-disciplinary cancer care.
IMRT treatments are typically delivered daily for 10-20 minutes over a 6-8 week time period.
Benefits of IMRT:
- higher cure rates (as more radiation can be delivered into the tumor tissues)
- less normal tissue complications
- dose gradients within tumors that deliver more radiation where it is most needed