Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy
Intensity modulated radiation therapy, or IMRT, is a sophisticated form of cancer treatment that delivers very precise doses of radiation to cancerous tumors. It is a type of external beam radiation therapy.
Intensity-modulated radiation therapy was pioneered at the UT Health San Antonio MD Anderson Cancer Center, along with the image-guided planning that helps makes this therapy so precise.
Why choose the UT Health San Antonio Cancer Center for IMRT?
As the only cancer center recognized by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in Central and South Texas, we began as a radiation therapy center in 1974 and continue to be a leader in the treatment of cancer through radiation therapies. Our specialized radiation oncologists have delivered more than 20,000 IMRT treatments, making the Cancer Center one of the most experienced IMRT centers in the world.
At our cancer center, radiation treatments are delivered using photon and electron beams produced by our highly advanced linear accelerators.
When is IMRT used?
Our experienced radiation oncologists use IMRT to treat:
- Prostate cancer
- Cancers of the head and neck, such as pituitary tumors
- Breast cancer
- Thyroid cancer
- Lung cancer
- Some gynecologic cancers
- Some pediatric cancers
How does IMRT work?
IMRT breaks the radiation beam into many smaller beams and adjusts the intensity of each one individually to fit the shape of the tumor. This enables the cancerous tumor to receive very precise, high doses of radiation while limiting the radiation that is received by nearby healthy tissue.
For example, when doctors are treating prostate cancer with IMRT, they can change the intensity of the radiation and the direction of the beams to deliver high doses of radiation to the tumor and low doses to the nearby bladder and rectal tissue. This increases the chances of successfully destroying the tumor while protecting the function of the bladder and rectum.
Most patients will receive IMRT five days a week for seven or eight weeks.
What are the side effects of IMRT?
The side effect most often reported by patients receiving radiation is fatigue.
Other side effects of external radiation therapies, such as IMRT, are usually limited to the area that received radiation.
For example, if you are treated for breast cancer, you may notice skin irritation on your chest that feels and looks like a mild to moderate sunburn. These side effects are usually temporary and can be treated by your doctor.
If you experience discomfort or other symptoms during or after treatment, be sure to tell your doctor. They may be able to recommend strategies, prescribe medication or suggest changes to your diet to help.
Make an appointment
To request an appointment or to make a referral to one of our physicians, please call 210-450-1000.
To speak with a radiation oncology patient care coordinator, please call 210-450-1016.
For information about cancer treatment at UT Health San Antonio MD Anderson Cancer Center or cancer trials, please call 1-800-340-2872.