Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy

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Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) is another type of highly accurate radiation therapy. IMRT shapes the radiation beams closely around the tumour. This targets the affected area while reducing the amount of radiation your healthy tissue is exposed to. This is very helpful in delicate areas like the head and neck. Because it is a very complicated system, treatment with IMRT takes a bit longer than with other treatments.

In more detail

Intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) is high-precision radiation therapy that allows the delivery of radiation doses to a malignant tumour or specific areas within the tumour. This means the dose conforms precisely to the three-dimensional shape of the tumour. By adjusting the intensity of the radiation beam in multiple small volumes, higher radiation doses can be focused to regions within the tumour while minimising the dose to the surrounding healthy tissues.

Treatment is planned carefully using CT scans and computerised dose calculations. When the dose strength pattern is formed, IMRT is used to shape the radiation therapy around the tumour by aiming the beams at the tumour from many different directions.

IMRT can create a U-shaped, concave area at the edge of the radiation therapy field to avoid high radiation doses to surrounding tissue that may be damaged. This can reduce the risk of long-term side effects and protects important areas like the spinal cord or salivary glands.

IMRT is used to treat many different types of tumour. Currently, it is being used most extensively to treat cancers of the prostate, head and neck, and central nervous system. Because it a complicated system, IMRT needs additional planning time and safety checks and requires longer daily treatment times.

Read more about the use of IMRT for the treatment of Head and Neck cancers by clicking on the links below
Head and neck cancer responded well to IMRT 
Study finds more targeted form of radiation improves survival in patients with head and neck cancers