The Lourdes Regional Cancer Center has a new tool in it's cancer fighting arsenal, Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT). IMRT is a type of three-dimensional radiation therapy that improves the targeting of radiation therapy treatments, decreasing damage to normal tissues. This noninvasive procedure pinpoints the delivery of radiation to the patient by using a computer system to change the intensity of radiation beams, creating a clinically optimal treatment plan - one that maximizes the dose to the tumor while sparing the surrounding tissues.
IMRT is the most technologically advanced treatment method available in external beam radiation therapy. IMRT uses computer-generated images to match a radiation dose to the size and shape of a patient's tumor. Rather than having a single large radiation beam pass through the body, with IMRT, the radiation is effectively shaped in order to conform to the size and shape of the tumor. With laser accuracy, these beams enter the body from many angles and target the cancer. This results in a high dosage of radiation to the tumor and a lower dosage to the surrounding healthy tissues.
IMRT is performed on an outpatient basis. It is most beneficial for patients who need high-dose radiation therapy in areas closely located to sensitive or essential organs, but all types of cancer can benefit from IMRT.