Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT)
Intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) is an advanced mode of high-precision radiotherapy that uses computer-controlled linear accelerators to deliver precise radiation doses to a malignant tumor or specific areas within the tumor. IMRT allows for the radiation dose to conform more precisely to the three-dimensional (3-D) shape of the tumor by modulating—or controlling—the intensity of the radiation beam in multiple small volumes. Intensity modulated radiation therapy also allows higher radiation doses to be focused to regions within the tumor while minimizing the dose to surrounding normal critical structures.
This type of radiation treatment is carefully planned by using 3-D computed tomography (CT) or MRIs of the patient in conjunction with computerized dose calculations to determine the dose intensity pattern that will best conform to the tumor shape. Typically, combinations of multiple intensity modulated fields coming from different beam directions produce a custom tailored radiation dose that maximizes tumor dose, while also minimizing the dose to adjacent normal tissues.
Because the ratio of normal tissue dose to tumor dose is reduced to a minimum with the Intensity modulated radiation therapy approach, higher and more effective doses can safely be delivered to tumors with fewer side effects than conventional radiotherapies; this type of radiation therapy also has the potential to reduce treatment toxicity, even when doses are not increased. Due to its complexity, IMRT does require slightly longer daily treatment times and additional planning and safety checks than conventional radiotherapy. Sierra.
At Northern Nevada Radiation Oncology, our oncologists use intensity modulated radiation therapy most extensively to treat cancers of the prostate, head and neck, and central nervous system. IMRT has also been used in limited situations to treat breast, thyroid, lung, as well as in gastrointestinal, gynecologic malignancies, and certain types of sarcomas; it may also be beneficial for treating pediatric malignancies. If you have any questions about intensity modulated radiation therapy, please contact us. Our radiation oncology center proudly treats patients living in Reno, Carson City, Lake Tahoe and the Sierra.