Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT)

What is IMRT?

Higher and more effective doses of radiation while limiting damage to the healthy tissues and organs 

Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) is an advanced type of external beam radiation treatment for cancer that uses sophisticated computer programmes to calculate and deliver radiation directly to cancer cells from multiple directions with high precision. It is a safe and painless procedure. It allows cancer patients to receive higher and more effective doses of radiation while limiting damage to the healthy tissues and organs around it. This increases your chance for a cure and lessens the likelihood of side effects.

Which type of cancers can be treated with IMRT?

At Mount Miriam Cancer Hospital (MMCH), IMRT is commonly used to treat head and neck cancer, prostate cancer, lung cancer and brain cancer because these tumours tend to be located close to critical organs in the body. It is occasionally used to treat gynaecologic cancer, breast cancer, lymphoma, sarcoma, gastrointestinal cancer and selected paediatric cancers.

What are the advantages of IMRT compared to 3DCRT?

IMRT allows higher doses of radiation to be delivered to tumours (dose escalation) hence increasing the curability for the disease (cancer) site. IMRT causes less radiation damage to numerous critical normal organs and tissue structures nearby the tumour and hence reducing the side effects and complications from radiotherapy.

How is IMRT given? And, what am I supposed to do?

Firstly, your treatment will be simulated in Computed Tomography (CT) room, where you will be comfortably positioned on the CT table by the Radiation Therapists with immobilizing moulds and other accessories to help you maintain the comfortable and stable position. You must lie still during CT Simulation so that the position is reproducible and good CT scan quality is obtained.

The CT Scan will map your tumour in 3D, then a team of Clinical Oncologists and Medical Physicists will use sophisticated computer programmes to define the tumour target and optimize the radiation delivery directly to the tumour while avoiding the normal healthy tissues around the tumour.

On the treatment day, you will be positioned by the Radiation Therapists on the treatment table with exactly the same setup during the CT simulation. You are required to lie still and adhere to the instructions given to you by the Radiation Therapists. Your position will be verified and guided using CT imaging equipped on our treatment system.

The treatment session generally lasts for about 20minutes to 30minutes, and the procedure is painless. You will be monitored at all times from the operator station through closed circuit televisions (CCTVs) fixed around the treatment room.