Intensity-modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) damages the DNA of cancer cells. This prevents the cells from dividing and growing, which slows tumor growth. In some cases, it can stop the growth, which can help to shrink the tumor or eliminate it. IMRT uses modulating fields that help to more precisely deliver radiation to an area in the shape of the actual tumor.
Radiation is directed at a tumor from many different angles. Using this three-dimensional approach, radiation oncologists can make a treatment plan that delivers higher and more effective doses of radiation to a specific target, limiting radiation and damage to surrounding tissues, often with fewer side effects.
This type of therapy is often used before a patient has surgery. By shrinking the size of a tumor before surgery, it can reduce the amount of tissue that needs to be removed during surgery, limiting damage to surrounding tissues. It may also be used after surgery to treat any cancer that may remain.