What Is Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy?
Intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) allows our specialists to vary radiation doses and target specific parts of a tumor.
For example, if a tumor is shaped like a horseshoe, IMRT enables us to send more radiation to wider parts of the tumor and smaller doses to narrow parts, helping to minimize harmful effects on surrounding healthy tissue.
How Does IMRT Work?
IMRT also uses image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT). With IGRT, we take CT scans before delivering radiation. CT scans are images that help us map the exact shape and location of a tumor so we can plan effective treatment.
The radiation is noninvasive. You won’t feel pain or discomfort during treatment. And you are usually in the treatment room for about 15 minutes total. The actual radiation exposure is only one to two minutes.
After treatment, your body doesn’t hold onto the radiation. You won’t emit (give off) radiation to others.
Advanced Radiation Techniques
We deliver radiation with a machine called a linear accelerator. Each of our cancer centers has a top-of-the-line linear accelerator called the Elekta Versa HD™.
Kettering Health was the first location in western Ohio to receive recognition as an Elekta Center of Excellence. This designation means we use the most up-to-date, advanced technology in each of our cancer centers.
What Is IMRT Used For?
We use IMRT to treat cancers, such as
- Breast cancer
- Esophageal cancer
- Head and neck cancer
- Lung cancer
- Prostate cancer
- Skin cancer
We can use IMRT nearly anywhere in the body. The type of radiation therapy you receive depends on several factors, such as tumor type, location, and size. Your radiation oncologist works with you to develop a personalized treatment plan based on your needs.
How Often Do I Need IMRT?
IMRT sessions occur over a few weeks. Your exact treatment schedule depends on tumor size, type, and location.
Radiation Side Effects
With all types of radiation therapy, it’s common to have some side effects. The side effects you experience depend on the radiation dosage and frequency, among other factors. You may have
- Hair loss
- Nausea or vomiting
- Soreness or swelling
Our team offers resources so you can manage the side effects of cancer treatment. At each of our cancer centers, we provide advanced specialty care in one convenient setting.
We provide extensive support services to help you heal, physically and mentally. We offer educational classes, support groups, and survivorship care.
If you need extra support managing treatment side effects, we offer rehab medicine services (physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech-language therapy).