Intensity modulated radiation therapy treatment (IMRT) is an advanced radiation therapy technique that works by delivering customized beams of radiation that are shaped to match the shape of the tumor, delivering precisely controlled beams of radiation.
At GenesisCare, we provide IMRT for a variety of cancer types at several of our centers.
IMRT is delivered from outside the body and is a type of external beam radiation therapy (EBRT) 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 surrounding healthy tissues in order to limit the side effects of treatment.
Several factors contribute to if IMRT is the right radiation therapy technique for you, including your cancer size, location and stage. Our radiation oncology team will work with you to create a personalized treatment plan, customized to your needs and goals, and advise if IMRT is an appropriate approach.
Prior to radiation therapy with IMRT, you will need to undergo imaging scans to help us determine your personalized treatment plan. Your radiation therapy team will take an imaging scan 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.
Once your plan is complete, your treatment will begin. You will lie on the treatment table for each radiation session while the radiation beam moves around you. Typically, there is no pain associated with radiation delivery, and you should be able to return to your normal activities right after in most cases. The number of treatment sessions you need will vary on your individual plan. Depending on your individual situation, you may need small permanent markings placed on your skin to help with targeting the radiation.
Watch the video to learn more about what to expect during radiation therapy:
Most treatment sessions take between 10 and 30 minutes to complete.
Whenever possible, we recommend you wear loose-fitting clothing to allow you to change easily for each session and to help reduce any skin irritation as treatment progresses.
Side effects vary depending upon the type of cancer you have and where the treatment is delivered. Your care team will advise you on what side effects you can expect and at what point they may arise during treatment. Typically, because of its precise targeting, the side effects are fewer and/or lessened with IMRT. Additionally, side effects typically resolve shortly after treatment is complete.
This depends on your individual situation. If you are currently working, you should be able to continue throughout your radiation therapy. While appointments are typically scheduled five days a week for several weeks, our teams will do their best to coordinate your treatments at times that work for you. Additionally, because of our extensive network, we offer many locations so you can receive treatment, close to home, or work.
In most cases, you should be able to drive and continue with your daily activities while undergoing radiation therapy. However, depending on where your radiation is delivered, you may experience fatigue as a side effect. If you are feeling tired, you should consider arranging transportation to and from treatment.