Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy

The University of Chicago Medicine was the first health care provider in Chicago to offer intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) to its patients. Combining this advanced technique with years of experience, radiation oncologists can maintain excellent cancer control rates yet limit the long-term toxic effects of radiation on healthy organs.

The radiation specialists at the medical center are experts in using IMRT to deliver the most benefits--with the fewest possible side effects--to cancer patients. IMRT is so effective that it is now considered the standard of care for difficult-to-treat cancers of the head and neck, rectum, pancreas and other areas.

For example, our doctors can use IMRT to reduce the doses of radiation to normal bowel tissue and bone marrow in women with cervical and uterine cancer. Patients with head and neck cancer are also spared high doses of radiation to the healthy tissues involved in speech and swallowing. This minimizes the potential impact of radiation on normal tissue, thus maintaining the patients’ quality of life. In the case of head and neck tumors, IMRT allows radiation to be delivered in a way that minimizes exposure of the spinal cord, optic nerve, salivary glands or other important structures. For prostate cancer, exposure of the nearby bladder or rectum can be minimized.

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