Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) is a type of advanced radiation therapy used to treat cancer to benign tumors. Why is it said to be sophisticated? This is because IMRT can manipulate photon and proton radiation beams to adjust the location and shape of the cancer. IMRT uses several small photons or proton beams of varying intensities to illuminate cancer precisely.
The radiation intensity of each beam is effectively controlled and can be adjusted throughout the treatment. The main goal of IMRT is to adjust the cancer radiation dose by reducing the exposure to healthy tissue, so that the side effects of this radiation treatment can be minimized.
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What is the function of the IMRT?
As previously explained, IMRT allows the use of higher doses to the cancer area while reducing the potential for side effects to healthy parts of the body. This of course makes cancer sufferers a higher chance of recovery because the risk of damage caused by radiation can be minimized.
IMRT allows cancer treatment to be carried out accurately in cancer that is unusual in shape. Cancers that are located in sunken or hollow areas are also easier to reach through this high dose of radiation therapy. The high dose radiation beam from IMRT can be concave or hollow.
This allows the dose of radiation to sensitive organs, such as the rectum or spinal cord to a minimum. With IMRT, cancer in several parts of the body that was previously difficult to treat because of the risk of affecting surrounding organs, especially organs that are sensitive to radiation, is now nothing to worry about. So far, IMRT is widely used for most types of tumors and cancer.
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Can IMRT Treat Prostate Cancer?
So far, IMRT is the most common treatment for prostate cancer. IMRT is also often used after radical prostatectomy surgery because the surgical procedure has not completely removed the cancer cells. IMRT allows higher doses to be treated with fewer side effects than before
It could be said that the patient’s lymph nodes can be treated more easily with less side effects than before. The main organ that limits the radiation dose is close to the prostate, the rectum, which is sometimes the reason for limiting the dose of medication. Through IMRT, high doses of radiation to the prostate are possible while minimizing radiation to the rectum.
What Side Effects Can IMRT Reduce?
IMRT is often used to treat tumors that are close to sensitive organs. For example, when IMRT is used to treat pelvic tumors, it can reduce the risk of long-term bowel problems such as:
- Cramps or spasms in the intestines.
- Tenesmus or the feeling that a person has not completely emptied the contents of the rectum.
- Diarrhea or severe constipation
IMRT can also be used to treat tumors in the head and neck area. Radiotherapy doses for important structures such as the salivary glands can be kept as low as possible. This structure is very sensitive to the effects of radiotherapy. IMRT can reduce damage to these organs and reduce the risk of xerostomia or permanent dry mouth.