Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT)
IMRT (Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy) is considered to be the most significant technological breakthrough in radiation treatment in the last 30 years. IMRT is a painless, non-surgical treatment that precisely targets cancer cells while minimizing side effects.
Prior to treatment, advanced digital imaging scans are completed to determine the extent of disease and localize the target tumor. These may include a CAT (Computer Axial Tomography) scan, MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging), PET (Positron Emission Tomography) scan, SPECT (Single Photon Emission Tomography) and Ultrasound. The scans are assessed with advanced visualization software, which uses mathematical equations for maximum accuracy. This digital information is integrated into a treatment-planning computer for each individual patient.
After the scans are reviewed and treatment is planned, IMRT imparts a high dose of radiation to a localized tumor from multiple angles rather than a single beam. Thousands of very fine radiation beams of varying intensity target, or “paint” the cancer cells while preserving the surrounding healthy tissue. There are no radioactive substances used. IMRT applies a smaller dose to normal tissues. The result is that side effects are decreased, and the probability of eradicating the tumor is improved.
IMRT is ideal therapy for cancers of the lung, prostate, brain, breast, oral cavity, tongue and larynx. Currently in use at UCLA Medical Center, BrainLAB IMRT is available at Radiation Oncology Centers of Ventura County and is the only radiation facility to offer this technology in Ventura County.
This treatment is highly customized to each patient. Treatment can take from five to 15 minutes, five days a week for six or seven weeks. Generally, a patient’s daily activity is not altered other than the need for daily therapy.