Treatment Offered At
- Cancer Care at Long Beach Medical Center
- Cancer Care at Orange Coast Medical Center
- Cancer Care at Saddleback Medical Center
As part of the cancer care multidisciplinary team, our radiation oncologists coordinate every aspect of care with surgeons and pathologists to help decide the best course of treatment for each patient.
Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) is the most advanced form of external beam radiation therapy available for cancer treatment today. It delivers a high dose of radiation to well-defined cancerous tissue while avoiding the healthy tissue surrounding the tumor.
How IMRT Works
IMRT allows for very precise external beam radiotherapy treatments, which are more effective than a single large radiation beam passing through the body. With IMRT, radiation field is effectively broken up into thousands of tiny radiation beams of varying weight delivered with laser accuracy; these beams enter the body from many angles and intersect on the cancerous tissue to deliver the radiation treatment.
What to Expect
Shortly after you have decided on IMRT treatment, a special CT scan is taken at the Radiation Oncology’s modern CT suite. In addition to the radiation oncologist(s), a medical dosimeterist, a medical physicist, and a CT simulation therapist will also be present during the simulation in the CT room. These specialists are present to ensure that all the correct information is collected during this critical step.
The CT images are then viewed by the team and electronically transferred to a sophisticated computer for 3D dimensional reconstruction. At this point, a dosimeterist, in conjunction with the radiation oncologist, outlines the tumor and the normal tissues on all of the CT slices. The computer uses this information to create a 3D representation of the tumor as well as the critical normal tissues. The team can then view the shape of the tumor at any angle and see which critical tissue or organ is in danger of getting unnecessarily irradiated.
After the completion of this step, all images are sent to another powerful computer for the creation of the final IMRT treatment plan. A senior medical physicist continues working on the treatment plan by assigning varying dose limits to the tumor and the critical structures. The computer program, using artificial intelligence, evaluates millions of possible beam arrangements and creates a clinically optimized treatment plan based on a few constraints set by the physicians. This plan maximizes the radiation dose delivered to the tumor while minimizing the radiation dose delivered to the surrounding normal tissues.
Benefits of IMRT
IMRT allows the entire tumor to receive a maximum amount of radiation while the healthy tissue area, surrounding the cancer, receives only a small amount of radiation.