Dr Shum Weng Yoon, Consultant Oncologist & Radiotherapist shares that IGRT is the most advanced technology in radiation therapy nowadays. The goal of the IGRT is to improve the accuracy of the radiation field placement, and to decrease radiation doses to normal tissues hence minimizing side effects and improving treatment outcomes.
All you want to know abou IGRT
How does IGRT work?
Before the radiation beam is turned on, the doctor and radiation therapist will use the imaging tool to determine precise location of the tumor. This enables smaller radiation field and allows for increased radiation to the tumor which then minimizes radiation damage to normal tissues.
What types of cancers are treated with IGRT?
Most cancers will benefit from treatments that are more accurate and precise. Tumors of the prostate, head and neck and lung region treated using IGRT can better ensure that delicate tissues such as rectum, urinary bladder, spinal cord and salivary gland are spared from the radiation.
We see significant benefits in treating prostate cancer using IGRT. As the bladder fills and empties, the prostate moves, sometimes significantly. This means that the prostate will be at different positions for each day of radiation treatment. At Mahkota Medical Centre, IGRT is used to determine position of prostate just before radiation is delivered.
Patient needs to undergo a CT simulation before radiation therapy is carried out. The images produced from the CT simulation will be used to formulate customized treatment plan for each patient.
During treatment, the patient is placed comfortably on a treatment couch in the same position as planned from the reference imaging dataset. Thereafter, a real time x-ray and Computer Tomography will be taken before radiation therapy. After referring to the images produced from the CT simulation, radiation therapy is administered externally via the Linear Accelerator in regimented doses. The treatment, which lasts about 15-20 minutes, is painless.
Radiation therapy is given 5 days a week while the whole course of treatment varies from 1 to 7 weeks depending on the size, location and type of cancer.