Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy for Prostrate Cancer (IMRT)

Ordinarily, most forms of radiation are harmful to the human body because they attack cells in the body and cause damage to them. The damage may be limited if the radiation is itself controlled, giving the body a chance to fight and the cells in the body a chance to recuperate from the harmful effects of the irradiation. Radiation therapy works precisely with that operational principle when it is used to treat various forms of cancer.

In the treatment of prostate cancer, ionizing radiation actually attacks both normal and abnormal cells in the body, doing damage to both. Because of their status, though, the normal cells are able to recover from the radiation while the abnormal cells are not. However, the time during which the normal cells and tissue in the body are recuperating is a lot, and the effects that the patient suffers from can be rather severe, leading to other methods being sought and preferred over radiation therapy.

Today, new types of radiation therapy such as Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy for Prostate cancer (IMRT) have fewer side effects than traditional treatment. This technique specifically called Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) can now be used to adjust the radiation beam to conform with the shape of the tumor in the prostate, this way allowing higher doses to be administered to the prostate and seminal vesicles and for less damage to occur to the bladder and the rectum. This has gone a long way to reduce how much diarrhea and rectal bleeding (due to proctitis), as well as fecal and urinary incontinence, which occur as normal side effects to standard radiation therapy for prostate cancer, occurs during the course of treatment.

IMRT is an advanced type of high-precision radiation that is the next generation of 3DCRT ? 3-dimensional conformal radiotherapy ? which also improves the ability to conform the treatment volume to concave prostate tumor shapes. Now when the tumor is wrapped around a vulnerable structure such as the spinal cord or a major organ or blood vessel, IMRT can reach it in a way normal radiation treatment cannot, distributing precise radiation doses to malignant tumors or specific areas within the tumor with a pattern of radiation delivery that is determined by highly-tailored computing applications. The radiation and harm to neighboring normal tissues is decreased or avoided completely, making it possible for the patient to recover faster and with the desired fewer side effects.

There is yet more that needs to be done to completely erase the risk in the treatment, and improve the prognosis; but the advances made so far a most definitely a step in the right direction; a plus for patients and their doctors alike, you will have to agree.

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