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IMRT for Prostate Cancer Treatment in Lafayette LA

What is IMRT (Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy)?

IMRT, or Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy, is a method of delivering radiation doses to a tumor painlessly and safely by way of linear accelerators. These linear accelerators are computer-controlled to ensure the radiation delivered is sent precisely to the malignant tumor while minimizing exposure to surrounding healthy tissue. By using 3-D computed tomography, the exact three-dimensional shape of the tumor can be accounted for as an appropriate dose intensity pattern is calculated in order to expose the areas with the most malignant tissue with the higher radiation doses.

In addition to being an effective treatment of prostate cancer, IMRT is also commonly used to treat additional cancers of the head and neck as well as the central nervous system.

Preparing for IMRT

Once the doctor recommends IMRT after a physical examination and a medical history review have been conducted, a treatment simulation will be scheduled. The patient may receive instructions to follow a particular bowel and bladder regimen. During this simulation, CT scanning is used to help the oncologist to create a 3-D map of the tumor area. This CT info will be used to design the placement and volume of the IMRT beams. Occasionally, contrast material may be injected in order to help the specialist to define the tumor more clearly. In some cases, a mold may be set to help position the patient in the precise position needed for treatment.

What to Expect Before and After IMRT

IMRT, like all radiation therapies, is a painless experience during the treatment itself. However, as treatment progresses, side-effects are common in some patients. In addition to side-effects caused by radiation to the malignant tissue, there may also be negative effects felt from surrounding healthy tissue being exposed to the radiation as well. The nature and severity of these side effects will vary depending on the dosage and type of radiation you receive, so always be sure to consult with your specialist about side-effects to anticipate before undergoing IMRT.

Side-effects of IMRT can be classified as early (occur soon after treatment and typically subside in 2-3 weeks) or late (occur months to years after treatment and may be permanent). Early side-effects may include the following:

  • nausea and vomiting
  • soreness and swelling in the treatment area
  • eating and digestion problems
  • hair loss in the treatment area
  • diarrhea
  • mouth problems and difficulty swallowing
  • headaches
  • urinary and bladder changes

Late side-effects, while rare, may include the following:

  • spinal cord changes
  • brain changes
  • lung changes
  • colon and rectal changes
  • kidney changes
  • infertility
  • joint changes
  • mouth changes
  • lymphedema
  • secondary cancer

IMRT Offered at Southern Surgical of Lafayette LA

Southern Surgical of Lafayette is pleased to provide IMRT for prostate cancer treatment to our patients. If you’ve been diagnosed with prostate cancer and you’d like to learn more about IMRT, be sure to ask your provider whether Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy is right for you by calling (337) 233-6665 to make an appointment today.