Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) is a type of radiation therapy that kills cancer cells inside your body. It allows your care team to match radiation beamlets to the unique shape of your tumor.
Before you begin IMRT, your doctor will order scans (pictures) of your cancer. These pictures help your doctor confirm the exact location of the cancer in your body. They also provide a 3-D map of your tumor.
IMRT uses a machine to send radiation into your body. It allows your doctor to shape the radiation to the contours of your tumor while sparing normal tissues near your tumor. Special computer software is used to control the intensity of each radiation beamlet. This means the highest doses of radiation hit your tumor instead of healthy tissue.
Because of its precision, IMRT is ideal for shrinking or destroying tumors next to vital organs. It is often used to treat cancers of the prostate, breast, lung, gastrointestinal tract, brain and other structures in the head or neck.
All types of radiation therapy kill cancer cells, but IMRT offers several advantages. These include:
Your Mercy care team will make sure you understand what to expect before, during and after IMRT treatment. For example:
If you have questions or concerns about IMRT, don’t hesitate to talk to one of your Mercy caregivers. Our goal is to get rid of your cancer, so you can get on with your life.