IMRT Improves Head and Neck Cancers Survival

By on January 13, 2014

Good news for patients with head and neck cancers! Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) will not only helps in reducing side effects while treatment, but also improves the survival in patients after treatment.

In general, when a person undergoes conventional radiation therapy for treatment of cancer, healthy cells that are nearby cancer cells also get exposed to radiation.

Some of the side effects of this traditional radiation therapy include chronic dry mouth, fibrosis, and dental complications.

Intensity-modulated Radiation Therapy

IMRT - Head and Neck CancersAccording to a new research conducted by The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center IMRT technology targets precisely only the cancer cells, and spares healthy tissues.

When compared to regular radiation therapy, this IMRT has shown reduced toxicities, and also shown improved survival.

IMRT allows the oncologist to target the multiple beams employed by it to the confirmed tumor affected area, while leaving the healthy tissues nearby it unexposed to radiation.

Beth Beadle, M.D., Ph.D., of this research team said that previous studies conducted on IMRT, which indicated that this therapy will only reduce the side effects of radiation therapy, but never studies were conducted on survival and recurrence of cancer.

He also said that for this research, records of 3172 American head and neck cancer patients, who have under treatment between 1999 and 2007, were studied and analyzed. Of these 3172 patients 1,056 have undergone IMRT and 2,116 have undergone conventional therapy.

They have found out that with a follow-up of 40 months after treatment, 84.1% of patients who had IMRT have survived cancer, and 66% of patients who had conventional radiation therapy have survived cancer.

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