Image-Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT)
At Providence, we believe in efficient and precise cancer treatments. With image-guided radiation therapy, your doctors are able to accurately target tumors while sparing adjacent vital organs. Our goal is to minimize your body’s exposure to radiation and get you back in control of your life.
Image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT) is a type of cancer treatment that uses X-rays to reduce the size of tumors.
In contrast to less precise radiotherapy treatments, IGRT uses constant 2-D and 3-D imaging of the body to precisely locate a tumor’s position and administer radiation accordingly.
Because tumors can often move or spread, IGRT allows your doctor to accurately deliver more focused high-dose radiation while decreasing the risk of missing the tumor. This helps reduce harm to vital organs and minimizes side effects to healthy tissue.
Each radiation therapy session begins with a scan of the body. This is to ensure that the medical linear accelerator (the machine that administers radiation) accurately focuses radiation beams to the tumor’s target location.
Once your scans have taken place, your radiotherapist positions you on the treatment table surrounded by the medical linear accelerator. Your radiation therapist will then exit the room.
At Providence, we care about providing comfort, so in situations like these, your therapists will maintain contact with you over a microphone and intercom at all times should you need anything.
The radiation machine (the medical linear accelerator) delivers radiation through circular motions around your body, calibrated using the scanned images to the exact position and location of your tumor.
As your radiotherapy treatment plan begins, calibration and diagnostic procedures are put in place. These may include a body mold and a small freckle-sized tattoo. The tattoo helps the radiation equipment align to the targeted area, and the body mold comfortably assists you in maintaining a still position on the treatment table while receiving radiation. These procedures are meant to ensure precision, accuracy and consistency throughout each therapy session.
Despite each session being moderately quick and pain-free, there are risks of side effects. Reactions to radiation include dryness or itching of the skin over the target, soreness and nausea.