Image-Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT) and Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT)
Due to normal body movements such as breathing and digestion, tumors can shift slightly in the body, both during a radiation treatment and between treatments. If these changes in position move the tumor out of the planned range of the radiation beam, the tumor may not receive the full amount of radiation that it should, or normal tissues may receive more radiation than they ideally should.
Before the procedure, IGRT technologies use markers and then daily ultrasound and CT imaging to ensure that the target area is in position.
During radiation treatments, new patient positioning techniques and complex computing and imaging technology take patient motion and/or tumor movement into account.
This allows for the more precise delivery of a “real time” radiation beam to the tumor.
IMRT for breast cancer patients
IMRT is an advanced form of 3-D conformal radiation therapy. Further refinements to 3-D technology allow us to specify the dose of radiation for the tumor as well as dose restrictions to normal tissues. We are then able to “shape” the high-dose radiation specifically to the cancerous area while sculpting around normal organs, reducing the dose to healthy structures.