Cancer Treatment Tools
- Published: 27 March 2012
Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) is an advanced mode of high-precision radiotherapy that utilizes computer-controlled x-ray accelerators to deliver precise radiation doses to a malignant tumor or specific areas within a tumor.
The radiation dose is designed to conform to the three-dimensional (3-D) shape of the tumor by modulating or controlling the intensity of the radiation beam to focus a higher radiation dose to the tumor while minimizing radiation exposure to surrounding tissues. Treatment is carefully planned by using 3-D computed tomography (CT) images of the patient in conjunction with computerized dose calculations to determine the dose intensity pattern that will best conform to the tumor shape.
Because the ratio of normal tissue dose to tumor dose is reduced to a minimum with the IMRT approach, higher and more effective radiation doses can safely be delivered to tumors with fewer side effects when compared with conventional radiotherapy techniques. IMRT also has the potential to reduce treatment toxicity.