The different types of external beam treatments differ mainly in the complexity of treatment planning and treatment delivery. The most complex method of image-guided external beam radiotherapy is called intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT). IMRT treatments consist of irradiating the tumor from many (five to nine) beam directions using multiple (three to 10) small field shapes per beam direction, in contrast to conventional radiotherapy treatment where one field shape is used at each of the two to four beam directions typically used. The primary advantage of IMRT over conventional techniques is that it allows exceptional flexibility in treating oddly shaped tumor volumes while simultaneously avoiding healthy tissues. IMRT has primarily been applied to tumors of the brain.
• Advanced 3-D treatment planning software allows computer-automated optimization of the treatment plan.
• IMRT-enabled computer-controlled treatment unit with a multileaf collimator and electronic portal imager.
• IMRT-enabled record-and-verification system.
• Equipment for verifying the accuracy of the treatment delivery.
• Network integration of the treatment planning system, CT simulator, and the treatment unit.
• Experienced staff to support the IMRT program.
In meeting these technical requirements, St Agnes HealthCare is demonstrating a substantial commitment to advancing the technical capabilities of the center to a level only available in select treatment facilities in the nation.