Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT)
When it comes to cancer treatment, radiation oncology treatment is one of the best known – and most effective – therapies available. Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) uses computer generated imaging to target the exact location of the tumor, after which hundreds of beams of radiation are delivered to the tumor location – in three-dimensional patterns – from every angle. By delivering the radiation to the exact tumor location, we are able to entirely control the amount of radiation introduced to the body, resulting in fewer side effects and complications, as well as increased effectiveness.
This precise technology has been a game-changer in the world of cancer care, especially in the treatment of prostate cancer where accurate delivery of radiation allows us to deliver the level of dosage required to be most effective. Plus, IMRT is minimally to moderately invasive, making it a great alternative to surgery.
Some of the benefits of IMRT include:
- The ability to control where the radiation is delivered and how much is delivered. IMRT allows us to deliver higher doses of radiation to the precise tumor location so it is most effective. These higher doses of radiation target the tumor and cancer cells – and not the surrounding healthy organs and tissues.
- Protecting healthy tissues and nearby organs from radiation during the radiation oncology treatment process means less side effects for patients.
- IMRT offers patients a less invasive alternative to surgery.
- A wider scope of malignancies can be treated using this sophisticated technology.
- IMRT has been shown to be exceptionally effective in treating prostate cancer. A study conducted by Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City showed that early stage prostate cancer patients who were treated with IMRT technology had a 92% three-year survival rate. This is compared to the 81.6% three-year survival rate for early stage prostate cancer patients who received lower radiation dosages from earlier generations of radiation therapy. Plus, IMRT was able to reduce the rate of complications from rectal bleeding from 17% to 3%.
Image-Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT)
Setting a new bar for radiation oncology treatment, radiation therapy with image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT) utilizes some of the most sophisticated technology available to precisely treat tumors. IGRT is combined with intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) which delivers hundreds of thin beams of radiation to the precise tumor location, found using computer imaging. The IGRT technology anticipates day-to-day movement of the tumor and adjusts the radiation beam accordingly so that the radiation is always directed to the precise tumor location at all times.
Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy
A relatively new technology, stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) – or stereotactic ablative radiotherapy (SABR) – is quickly revolutionizing radiation therapy. During the procedure, exceptionally powerful biological doses of radiation are delivered to the tumor – meaning that the radiation dose is strong enough to kill cancer cells but minimally exposes surrounding healthy tissues and organs. This level of radiation allows for the best possible opportunity for cure. In fact, the cure rate for tumors treated with stereotactic body radiation therapy has simply not been achievable through conventional therapies.
North Texas Cancer Center at Wise Regional now offers:
The Trilogy™ System in Treating Cancer
A cancer diagnosis typically results in one or a combination of treatments that include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation – all of which can certainly feel very overwhelming for somebody suddenly faced with the challenge of their lifetime. As patients who are entrusting their physical care – and ultimately their lives – to a team of doctors, we want to know that those doctors have made a commitment to investing in the latest diagnostic technology and tools for treatment. And when it comes to radiation, the Trilogy™ technology, manufactured by Varian Medical Systems, offers one of the most advanced methods in cancer treatment.
What is the Trilogy system?
The Trilogy is a versatile system that provides image-guided radiation that is optimized to be used in a variety of ways:
Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) – Utilizes state-of-the art computer technology to adjust the intensity of the radiation beam that is being delivered to the tumor site. By adjusting the beam, this allows for maximum doses to be delivered to areas where cancer cells could be hiding, while minimizing exposure to surrounding areas.
Conventional Image-Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT) – In which precise doses of radiation are delivered to a pinpoint tumor location within the body as found by special imaging technology – used in conduction with the technology used to deliver the actual radiation. The physician uses a Cone-Beam CT scan prior to each daily treatment to find the precise location of the tumor before the procedure during which radiation is navigated directly to that spot. This takes into account that there are often microscopic changes in position that happen daily and by using this highly sensitive technology, the direction of the radiation beam can be adjusted accordingly. This minimizes radiation exposure to surrounding healthy tissues and organs.
3D Conformal Radiotherapy – Utilizes technology that allows beams of radiation to be shaped to match the shape of the tumor itself. In conventional treatments, radiation beams are matched to the weight and height of the tumor. With 3D conformal radiotherapy, a 3D image is taken that not only allows radiation to be delivered to the precise location of the tumor but to match the shape of the tumor exactly.
Stereotactic Radiosurgery – Allows physicians to treat cancers that are in locations in the body that would render a traditional surgery too difficult. It also allows physicians to treat cancers in patients that are in too poor of health to undergo conventional surgery. Stereotactic radio surgery delivers a single, very high dose of radiation to a precise location and typically includes just a few treatments.
Fractionated Stereotactic Radiation Therapy – Similar to stereotactic radiosurgery but delivered in multiple doses over multiple procedures rather than in one large dose in one single procedure. This is done when addressing parts of the body that are better suited to receiving multiple, smaller doses of radiation rather than all at once.
The benefits of the Trilogy to patients include faster treatment times, the ability to receive the highest dose of radiation during shorter sessions thus allowing for maximum benefits in a shorter time, increased accuracy including targeting of the precise tumor locations taking into account daily position changes, minimal exposure to surrounding healthy tissues, faster recovery times, reduced side-effects, the ability to access difficult-to-reach areas with improved ease and speed, and movement management technology that allows treatment to coordinate with the patient’s normal breathing patterns resulting in a more comfortable experience.
In the greater world of oncology care, the Trilogy – the first of its kind – offers more refined tools to physicians and represents the newest, most advanced and accurate forms of cancer care.