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Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy

Penn radiation oncologists are experts in the use of the latest therapies, including intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), to treat cancer. This advanced type of radiotherapy uses a computer-controlled device, called a linear accelerator, to deliver precise doses of radiation to tumors or specific areas within the tumors.

Radiation therapy, including IMRT, stops cancer cells from dividing and growing, thus slowing or stopping tumor growth. In many cases, radiation therapy is capable of killing all of the cancer cells.

Using 3-D computed tomography (CT) images of the patient along with computerized dose calculations, IMRT allows for the radiation dose to conform more precisely to the three-dimensional shape of the tumor by controlling — or modulating — the intensity of the radiation beam. The therapy allows higher radiation doses to be delivered to regions within the tumor while minimizing the dose to the surrounding area.

The Advantage to Patients

There are several advantages to IMRT therapy:

  • Higher and more effective radiation doses can safely be delivered to tumors with fewer side effects
  • Reduced treatment toxicity

Types of Cancer Treated with IMRT

Currently, IMRT is being used by Penn Cancer Services to treat: