Radiation Therapy at Arizona Urology Specialists
Radiation therapy is changing the way patients fight prostate cancer. Radiation therapy, or radiotherapy, is the medical use of radiation to kill or control malignant (cancerous) cells. Radiation therapy is a type of cancer treatment that uses high-energy X-rays or radioactive seeds to directly target the cancerous cells in the prostate. The two types of radiation therapy are external beam radiation and brachytherapy.
External Beam Radiation Therapy
The most common type of radiation therapy is called external beam radiation therapy. It is usually used to treat prostate cancer that is confined to the prostate or has spread only to nearby tissue. For advanced-stage prostate cancer, the radiation may be used to shrink the tumor and relieve symptoms.
IGRT and IMRT are two advanced techniques used to treat prostate cancer, often combined into the term IG-IMRT.
Image-Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT)
IGRT is the process of frequent two and three-dimensional imaging during a course of radiation treatment. It is used to direct the radiation beams utilizing coordinates of the actual radiation therapy treatment plan and accounts for motion (breathing, for example) to ensure that the target is in the same position at every treatment session.
Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) – A State-of-the-Art Radiation Delivery System
IMRT treats difficult to reach tumors in the prostate with greater precision than conventional radiation. As a result, doctors are able to target the tumor with higher radiation doses while sparing the surrounding healthy tissue. Irradiating less normal tissue reduces the possibility of side effects and improves your quality of life.
Improved tumor targeting may make it possible to deliver higher radiation doses to the tumor and thereby increase the likelihood of better tumor control.
There are several ways IMRT differs from conventional radiation therapy:
- IMRT employs a powerful, advanced software to plan a precise dose of radiation, based on tumor size, shape, and location.
- The prostate cancer radiation is sculpted in doses that match the exact 3D geometrical shape of the tumor, including concave and convex shapes.
- IMRT adjusts the intensity of radiation beams across the treatment area as needed with laser accuracy.
Because of its greater degree of accuracy, IMRT may be a treatment option if you have reached the maximum allowable dose of prostate cancer radiation therapy and have a recurrent tumor in the treated area.
IGRT AND IMRT technologies take radiation therapy one step further by raising the quality of care,
by lowering radiation side effects, and by increasing radiation treatment dose to the tumor.