Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) is a type of 3-D conformal radiation therapy that uses radiation beams (usually X-rays) of varying intensities to deliver different doses of radiation to small areas of tissue at the same time. IMRT allows for the delivery of higher doses of radiation within the tumor and minimizes damage to nearby healthy tissue, which can lead to fewer side effects. Some techniques deliver a higher dose of radiation to the patient each day, potentially shortening the overall treatment time and improving the success of the treatment.
With IMRT, radiation is delivered by a linear accelerator that is equipped with a multileaf collimator, which helps to shape or sculpt the beams of radiation. The linear accelerator can be rotated around the patient so that radiation beams can be sent from the best angles. The beams conform as closely as possible to the shape of the tumor. Because IMRT equipment is highly specialized, not every radiation oncology center uses IMRT. However, the experienced radiation oncologists and staff at Capital Health are highly trained in IMRT delivery.
IMRT has been used to treat tumors in the brain, head and neck, nasopharyngeal (the part of the pharynx that is connected to your nasal passages), breast, liver, lung, prostate, and uterus. However, IMRT is not appropriate or necessary for every patient or tumor type.