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Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy is offered in many different ways – each with its own benefits for particular malignancies.

Radiation Therapy with Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT)

One of the more exciting methods of radiation therapy and offers the opportunity to deliver the highest dosages of radiation possible without damaging healthy cells and tissues nearby. Here’s how it works:

IMRT combines radiation itself – the tool by which cancer cells are directly targeted – with the computer imaging technology to precisely pinpoint the exact location of the tumor. Once the exact location is determined, hundreds of tiny beams of radiation – crisscrossing in three-dimensional patterns from every angle – are delivered to that precise spot.

The benefits of IMRT are numerous. For one, radiation itself is most effective when the right dosage is delivered. In traditional radiation procedures, oncologists may have been conservative about the level of radiation they delivered to the body in order to safeguard healthy tissues and organs. With IMRT, because the radiation is precisely delivered to the tumor location, oncologists can deliver the highest level of radiation possible without concern that neighboring healthy tissues and organs will be damaged.

Not only does this allow for the most effective treatment, it results in fewer side effects and complications as a result of treatment. This has made IMRT a very popular alternative to more invasive procedures such as surgery and can be used to treat a variety of cancers.

Radiation Therapy with Image-Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT)

Taking IMRT one step further is IGRT or image-guided radiation therapy. IGRT uses the technology of IMRT to determine the precise location of the tumor so that hundreds of beams of radiation can be delivered to that spot without impacting nearby healthy tissue and organs. IGRT, however, uses advanced technology to monitor the daily movement of the tumor so that the beams of radiation can be adjusted to target its precise location.

Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy

Stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) or stereotactic ablative radiotherapy (SABR) is a newer technology that is setting the bar at a new height in radiation therapy. With SBRT, biological doses of radiation are delivered directly to the tumor at levels strong enough to eradicate cancer cells but in a way that does not expose neighboring healthy organs and tissues. Cure rates are much higher with SBRT than with conventional radiation therapies, and the ability to minimize the exposure of healthy tissues to radiation allows for fewer side effects.

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