Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT)

A simple analogy for IMRT is a shower nozzle that discharges multiple streams of water in different directions, with each stream able to be turned on or off, or pre-set to deliver different intensities.

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How does Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) work?

A simple analogy for IMRT is a shower nozzle that discharges multiple streams of water in different directions, with each stream able to be turned on or off, or pre-set to deliver different intensities. This is not like standard radiation techniques with only a constant flow of radiation from each beam.

IMRT is an advanced form of 3-D conformal radiation therapy that lets doctors customise a radiation dose through modulation, varying the amount of radiation given. The radiation modulation is regulated through the use of computer-controlled, moveable ‘leaves’ which block or encourage the passage of radiation from the multiple beams aimed at the treatment area. The leaves are adjusted carefully depending on the shape, size, and location of the tumour, with the result being more radiation delivered directly to the tumour cells with less directed at the normal cells nearby.

IGRT is a new approach to delivering radiation therapy that allows for more accurate delivery of radiation to the target tissue. IGRT involves imaging during the course of radiation treatment. A computer compares images taken at the time of treatment to images taken during the planning phase. Through this process, IGRT is able to account for changes in the patient’s body or position that may shift the exact location of the cancer. This allows increased accuracy of very complex treatment approaches. It also provides documentation of the degree of accuracy. IGRT is used in conjunction with external beam radiotherapy (3D-CRT or IMRT.

We work together to combine the highest levels of consultant-led care and patient choice with the most advanced knowledge and understanding of the disease and its forms.

Cancers Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) can treat

Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer usually develops slowly, so there may be no signs for many years but in a small proportion of men, it can grow more swiftly and in some cases spread to other parts of the body, in particular the bones. It is the most common cancer in men in the UK.
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Vaginal Cancer

Vaginal cancer occurs when normal cells change and develop in an abnormal way or form a malignant tumour. When cancer cells develop within the vagina itself, it is known as Primary Vaginal Cancer. If it spreads from another part of the body for example, from the neck (cervix) or lining of the womb, it is known as Secondary Vaginal Cancer.
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Lung Cancer

Lung cancer is the growth of abnormal cells that begin in one or both lungs, often in the cells that line the air passages. The abnormal cells divide more quickly than normal cells and form tumours. The tumour increases in size and eventually learns to spread (metastasise) to other parts of the body via the blood stream.
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Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in the UK. Almost 60,000 women are diagnosed with this disease every year, with an extra 7,400 breast cancer sufferers diagnosed with an earlier, non-invasive form, confined to a specific area of the breast (usually milk ducts) but which may later acquire the ability to spread.
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Q. Will this treatment hurt?

A. No, administering this treatment won’t cause any pain. However, side-effects from the treatment may cause some discomfort.

Q. How long will the treatment take?

A. IMRT usually only takes a few minutes and is repeated over a set number of sessions based on your condition.

Q. What side effects can I expect?

A. Side effects are unique to each patient; however, they go away once the treatment is complete. Common side effects can include skin reactions and hair loss at the site of treatment, nutritional problems, fatigue, and a reduction in white blood cells.

Q. Will I be radioactive after the treatment?

A. No, once the treatment is complete you won’t be radioactive as the radiation is administered externally. Once complete it’s perfectly safe for you to be around other people.

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