What is Image-Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT)?
Image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT), or IGRT, is an advanced form of radiation therapy that harnesses powerful energy beams to combat cancer. These beams can be generated from various sources, including X-rays, protons, or other energy providers. The distinguishing feature of IGRT is its utilization of images to optimize the treatment planning process.
During an IGRT session, high-quality images are captured before each radiation therapy treatment. These images play a crucial role in enhancing the accuracy and precision of the radiation treatment, enabling better targeting of cancerous cells.
Incorporating IGRT into the treatment regimen makes it possible to administer higher doses of radiation. This approach can enhance the effectiveness of the treatment while potentially shortening the overall treatment duration. Additionally, IGRT enables the radiation to be focused more precisely on the target area, minimizing exposure to healthy surrounding tissues.
As the current gold standard in radiation therapy, IGRT treats various cancer types. Moreover, it is sometimes employed to manage non-cancerous tumours, expanding its scope of application beyond malignancies.
Why is it done?
IGRT finds application in treating various cancer types, with a particular advantage when dealing with tumours close to delicate structures and organs. Its utility extends to cancers that exhibit mobility during or between treatment sessions.
What to expect?
If you undergo IGRT, your medical team will employ one or more imaging modalities to accurately locate cancer and nearby sensitive organs. Utilizing a range of 2D, 3D, and 4D imaging techniques, IGRT enables precise positioning of your body and precise targeting of the radiation to focus on cancer specifically. This approach minimizes the potential harm to healthy cells and organs nearby.
Throughout the IGRT process, imaging tests are conducted before each treatment session and sometimes during the session. These images are then compared to previously taken images, allowing your radiation therapy team to assess potential cancer movements and make necessary adjustments to target cancer more accurately. This ensures that the treatment is delivered precisely to the intended area, optimizing its effectiveness while minimizing the impact on healthy tissues.