Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) is an advanced type of radiation therapy used to treat cancer and noncancerous tumors. IMRT uses advanced technology to manipulate beams of radiation to conform to the shape of a tumor.

IMRT uses multiple small radiation beams of varying intensities to precisely radiate a tumor. The radiation intensity of each beam is controlled, and the beam shape changes throughout each treatment. The goal of IMRT is to bend the radiation dose to avoid or reduce exposure of healthy tissue and limit the side effects of treatment.

  • Teamwork. Mayo's highly trained radiation oncology team includes radiation oncologists, radiation therapists, oncology nurses, treatment planners (dosimetrists) and medical physicists. Your radiation oncology team works closely with medical oncologists, surgeons and other experts to coordinate the best care for you.
  • Precise treatment planning. Mayo Clinic doctors use the latest imaging techniques to carefully plan radiation treatments. Doctors use CT scans, MRI scans and positron emission tomography (PET) scans to create a treatment plan that targets just the tumor. Careful planning before IMRT allows doctors to use higher doses of radiation to treat the tumor, while sparing the nearby healthy tissue from damage.
  • Experience. Mayo Clinic experts have experience using IMRT to treat many types of tumors. Radiation oncologists at Mayo Clinic consider IMRT to be ideal for treating prostate cancer, as well as cancerous and noncancerous tumors of the head and neck and other organs that lie near the optic nerves, brain, salivary glands, bladder, rectum, small bowel, kidneys, liver, lungs and spinal cord.
  • Latest technology. Mayo Clinic radiation oncologists use the latest in radiation therapy technology to care for patients, such as a more advanced form of IMRT called volumetric-modulated arc therapy (VMAT). VMAT technology allows doctors even more control over radiation beams to precisely reach the tumor. VMAT exposes healthy tissue to less radiation. VMAT treatment takes a fraction of the time it takes to perform traditional IMRT.
  • Comprehensive cancer center. Mayo Clinic Cancer Center meets strict standards for a National Cancer Institute comprehensive cancer center, which recognizes scientific excellence and a multispecialty approach focused on cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Ariz., are ranked among the Best Hospitals for cancer by U.S. News & World Report. Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla., is ranked high performing for cancer by U.S. News & World Report.

At Mayo Clinic, we assemble a team of specialists who take the time to listen and thoroughly understand your health issues and concerns. We tailor the care you receive to your personal health care needs. You can trust our specialists to collaborate and offer you the best possible outcomes, safety and service.

Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit medical institution that reinvests all earnings into improving medical practice, research and education. We're constantly involved in innovation and medical research, finding solutions to improve your care and quality of life. Your doctor or someone on your medical team is likely involved in research related to your condition.

Our patients tell us that the quality of their interactions, our attention to detail and the efficiency of their visits mean health care — and trusted answers — like they've never experienced.

Why Choose Mayo Clinic

What Sets Mayo Clinic Apart

Mayo Clinic works with hundreds of insurance companies and is an in-network provider for millions of people. In most cases, Mayo Clinic doesn't require a physician referral. Some insurers require referrals or may have additional requirements for certain medical care. All appointments are prioritized on the basis of medical need.

Mayo Clinic in Arizona emphasizes a collaborative approach to care. Led by doctors in the Department of Radiation Oncology, the treatment team includes therapists, nurses, nurse practitioners, dosimetrists, physicists and other support staff working together to deliver efficient and effective care.

For appointments or more information, call the Central Appointment Office at 800-446-2279 (toll-free) 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mountain Standard Time, Monday through Friday or complete an online appointment request form.

Mayo Clinic in Florida emphasizes a collaborative approach to care. Led by doctors in the Department of Radiation Oncology, the treatment team includes therapists, nurses, nurse practitioners, dosimetrists, physicists and other support staff working together to deliver efficient and effective care.

For appointments or more information, call the Central Appointment Office at 904-953-0853 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern time, Monday through Friday or complete an online appointment request form.

Mayo Clinic in Minnesota emphasizes a collaborative approach to care. Led by doctors in the Department of Radiation Oncology, the treatment team includes therapists, nurses, nurse practitioners, dosimetrists, physicists and other support staff working together to deliver efficient and effective care.

For appointments or more information, call the Central Appointment Office at 507-538-3270 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Central time, Monday through Friday or complete an online appointment request form.

See information on patient services at the three Mayo Clinic locations, including transportation options and lodging.

Mayo Clinic researchers are dedicated to studying novel procedures to determine their potential for future cancer treatments. The Mayo Clinic Cancer Center has been designated a comprehensive cancer center by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). NCI-designated cancer centers are characterized by scientific excellence and the capability to integrate a diversity of research approaches to focus on the problem of cancer.

Publications

See a list of publications by Mayo Clinic authors on intensity-modulated radiation therapy on PubMed, a service of the National Library of Medicine.

Apr. 16, 2012