Image Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT)

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Organs in our body constantly move, which previously meant that a large treatment field needed to be used because from day to day or minute to minute the tumor shifted as well. IGRT helps pin down precisely where the tumor is during each treatment. This precision, in turn, lets us make the treatment fields much smaller, thus limiting exposure of normal tissues nearby. 

The methods employed in IGRT depend on the type of tumor and the location. But in all applications of this technology, we use daily imaging to precisely pinpoint the coordinates of the tumor. This increased precision allows for higher doses of radiation – ultimately leading to higher cure rates.

In some situations, image-guided localization is significantly aided by surgically implanted markers that reliably show up on images. Implanted markers are broken into two main categories – bone and soft tissue. The location of these markers are verified each day prior to treatment to assure proper alignment of the treatment field.