Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT)
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Intensity-modulated radiation therapy, or IMRT, is an advanced type of external beam radiation cancer treatment that focuses the radiation on the tumor while sparing the surrounding healthy tissue thereby reducing side effects of treatment.
How IMRT Works
In IMRT treatment, a complex pattern of small radiation beams of varying intensity is delivered. These beams are constantly changing throughout the treatment to conform the radiation to the tumor and spare healthy tissue.
VMAT Advanced IMRT
Volumetric arc therapy, or VMAT, is an advanced form of intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) that speeds up the treatment by delivering the radiation in a series of arcs around the body instead of from fixed angles.
By delivering the radiation in arcs, the radiation conforms more closely to the tumor.
VMAT treatment usually takes less than two minutes — oftentimes shorter than IMRT. This makes it easier for patients to lie still, which improves treatment accuracy and convenience.
RapidArc is a type of VMAT, that was developed by Cedric X. Yu, DSc, Mansfield Professor of Radiation Oncology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.
Types of Tumors IMRT Treats
Because most tumors are surrounded by healthy tissue, IMRT can be used on any part of the body to treat primary or metastatic tumors of any size and shape. IMRT is the standard technique used to treat many cancers such as prostate, lung, head and neck, rectal and others.
IMRT Side Effects
Because the radiation better avoids healthy tissue, IMRT side effects are usually minimal. IMRT is usually an outpatient treatment. After treatment, you can resume your regular daily routine. Your care team will give you any necessary instructions.