Intensity modulated radiation therapy at Fox Chase Cancer Center

(PHILADELPHIA) Incontinence and impotence are two major complications feared by men undergoing treatment for prostate cancer, since the bladder and the rectum are the two organs adjacent to the prostate.

These organs are often in the line of fire when the radiation beams target the cancerous prostate. Now, with a highly sophisticated technology called Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy or IMRT patients are experiencing fewer side effects than with conventional and even 3-dimensional conformal radiation therapy.

Fox Chase Cancer Center is the only institution in the Delaware Valley currently treating prostate cancer patients regularly with IMRT, which enables radiation oncologists to administer powerful doses of radiation with extremely high precision to the targeted prostate while sparing surrounding healthy organs.

This new technology called IMRT is a significant advance and is our standard treatment for patients with prostate cancer, says Allan Pollack, MD, PhD, chairman of the radiation oncology department at Fox Chase Cancer Center. We use IMRT throughout the entire course of the patients treatment whereas some institutions only use IMRT at the very end, as a boost treatment, he says.

Conventional radiotherapy delivers only single beams of radiation with a uniform dose. A more advanced approach called 3-Dimensional Conformal Radiation Therapy or (3-DCRT), was the first in a new generation of treatment where the beam conformed to the irregular shape and size of an individual persons prostate. Pollack says, Radiation therapy is evolving quickly and Fox Chase continues to be a leader in this field. While we have shown that 3-DCRT was very effective, IMRT is even better.

Like 3-DCRT, IMRT has conformal capability, but IMRT allows the radiation beams to vary in intensity. IMRT delivers between 60 to 100 pencil-thin beams that direct radiation at varying rates of intensity and can be maximized where the tumor is thickest a

Contact: Sue Madden
Fox Chase Cancer Center

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