IMRT: Not All Radiation Is the Same

IMRTSo, you’re considering IMRT? You’re making a great choice with Dr. Bevan-Thomas! He will guide you through the uncertainty and confusion of diagnosis and treatment planning and make sure you have a clear understanding of all of it.

Let’s begin at the beginning, shall we?

WHAT IS IMRT?

IMRT stands for intensity-modulated radiation therapy. But don’t worry — you won’t need to memorize that! We’ll just call it IMRT.

IMRT is a high-precision form of external-beam radiation. It works from a 3D CT-scan image that makes it possible for the radiation oncologist to see precisely where to aim the beams. Complicated computer algorithms then control the radiation doses.

This precision means that you will get higher doses exactly where they’re needed with less risk of damaging healthy tissue you’d like to keep, like the rectum or bladder. (You’re welcome!)

As an added buffer to minimize radiation irritation to the rectum, Dr. Bevan-Thomas recommends and places SpaceOAR gel in the office. SpaceOAR is a hydrogel that creates a temporary space between the prostate and rectum and is a 10-minute procedure done in the office. The space gel will slowly dissolve over three to six months.

Another important component of IMRT is image-guided radiotherapy (IGRT). IGRT allows your treatment team to see daily changes to your prostate and make appropriate dosing or positioning adjustments in real time.

SMART! BUT WHAT IS THE SUCCESS RATE OF IMRT?

External-beam radiation therapy has a high cure rate for prostate cancer, but this always depends on the Gleason grade and stage of the cancer. Dr. Bevan-Thomas partners with radiation oncologist Dr. Jerry Barker of Urology Partners of North Texas. Dr. Jerry Barker is not only the director of the Texas Cancer Specialists Center but also a partner at Urology Partners of North Texas. Dr. Barker has the experience to get patients excellent results.

SO WHAT HAPPENS DURING MY TREATMENT?

Your treatment will be done by a team led by Dr. Barker at our partner center, Texas Cancer Specialists. Dr. B-T recommends an in-depth discussion with Dr. Barker about the duration and protocol of your treatment.

Receiving IMRT is more of a process than a procedure. You will have treatment five days a week, for anywhere between five and nine weeks. The duration depends on your cancer grade and stage and your PSA.

At each visit, you will lie down on the procedure table, then be guided into the machine. (Good news here — the equipment resembles an MRI, but it’s open on both ends. If you have claustrophobia, no worries!)

Now for the fascinating part. As you are lying still on the machine, instead of being adjusted for different views as you would for ordinary X-rays, the machine moves around you as it controls the location, size, direction, and shape of the beams.

The procedure is painless and routinely takes less than 10 minutes from start to finish.

DO I NEED TO WORRY ABOUT ED?

Erectile dysfunction is always possible with prostate procedures, but IMRT has less risk for ED than earlier radiation techniques. The amount and extent of your radiation plan will depend upon the volume of your cancer and where it is located in your prostate. There is always the risk of ED.

Much of that will depend upon how the nerves respond to the inflammation and irritation caused by the radiation.

WILL I BE ABLE TO DO MY USUAL ACTIVITIES?

That will depend on the side effects you have. Many men can work, cook, and enjoy whatever they do for fun. Others are tired and need to rest more than usual. You can have sex if you want to, but you may feel too tired at first. Don’t be alarmed if you do — your sex drive should improve when your treatment is over and after the hormone deprivation therapy you were given wears off.

WHY CHOOSE DR. BEVAN-THOMAS?

Dr. Bevan-Thomas is not a radiation oncologist, but he’s blessed to have one of the best radiation oncologists in the state of Texas as his partner. Dr. B-T and Dr. Barker are always discussing patient protocols and figuring out the best approach for individual patients. Dr. B-T has the same close relationship with a Urology Partners pathologist as he does with Dr. Barker.

Dr. B-T is not a one-trick pony. He is a highly experienced robotic surgeon and cryosurgeon and has world-class partners, including radiation oncologist Dr. Barker. With their top-notch support, Dr. Bevan-Thomas will help you or your loved one sort through all of your options and find the best approach for your individual situation.

If you’re not already seeing Dr. Bevan-Thomas, click on the button below to schedule an appointment.

Urologist Dr. Richard Bevan-Thomas of Urology Partners
Home - DrBevan-Thomas.com
Locations & Contacts
© Dr. Richard Bevan-Thomas - All rights reserved.
Disclaimer, Privacy, Terms of Use & Accessibility Statement