What is IMRT?
Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) is a type of external beam radiation therapy that accurately and safely optimizes the intensity and shape of the radiation beam around the treatment area. This means it maximizes radiation dose to the tumor and avoids or reduces radiation exposure to healthy tissues in order to limit the side effects of treatment.
Our latest-generation systems deliver highly targeted radiation therapy, and our expert radiation therapy teams use advanced computer technology to create your personalized treatment plan. Radiation is delivered using a machine called a linear accelerator, or linac. The linac can precisely shape the radiation beams around the target area as it follows the pattern and instructions that your radiation therapy team have planned.
How does IMRT work?
Before your radiation therapy, you’ll need to undergo imaging scans to help us determine your evidenced-based, personalized treatment plan. Your radiation therapy team will take the imaging scans to create a detailed view of your tumor and surrounding organs to establish the exact shape, size and location of your tumor. This is typically a CT scan.
Your radiation oncologist and support team use the images from your scan to determine the total dose of radiation that you need and exactly where to target it. Using sophisticated computer technology, we can also work out the number of radiation beams and the angles of delivery that are required to achieve your radiation dose.
It’s important that you are in the correct position for treatment and remain still throughout. Many of our centers offer surface-guided radiation therapy which has eliminated the need for body molds or tattoos by using cameras to track your position during set-up and throughout treatment. Read more about surface-guided radiation therapy. IGRT is also utilized to identify the target areas and position the treatment beams, ensuring the most accurate delivery of radiation possible today.
At the start of each session, you’ll lie on the treatment table and your radiation therapist will help you into the right position. SGRT and IGRT processes will be completed and only then will the radiation be delivered as the linac moves in a circular motion around you. Although the tumor is targeted with a very high dose of radiation, the procedure itself is entirely painless and only takes a few minutes. Nearly all patients receive their radiation on a outpatient basis – no admission to hospital is required. Many patients can continue to work, drive, travel and visit friends and family during treatment.
You’ll typically be scheduled for five sessions a week for three to six weeks. Your radiation oncologist will discuss this with you in more detail. We understand that fitting appointments around your daily activities can be difficult, so we’ll do our best to accommodate your schedule. Our convenient treatment locations mean you can access world-class cancer care close to home, so you can focus on your life and doing the things you love, while we focus on treating your cancer. Ample on-site free car parking is available, reducing the stress, inconvenience and cost associated with accessing care in our centers.
What about side effects?
As with any cancer treatment, you may experience side effects. What you experience is often dependent on the specifics of your personalised treatment program. Your physician will discuss with you the side effects you are likely to experience.