IMRT vs Traditional Radiation

OncoLink
Last Modified: June 8, 2012

Question:

Is there a benefit with IMRT versus traditional radiation therapy for head and neck cancer patients? I have met with 2 radiation oncologists with different approaches and wondering how to know which one is better for me?

Answer:

Alexander Lin, MD, Radiation Oncologist at Penn Medicine, responds:

It depends on the area that needs to be treated. If the area being covered is located close to normal tissues that need to be spared, then IMRT does a better job of delivering dose to areas of tumor, while sparing normal tissues as much as possible. Studies have shown that IMRT can significantly improve sparing of the salivary glands, thereby reducing the risk of long-term symptomatic dry mouth.

This question and answer was part of the OncoLink Brown Bag Chat Series. View the entire Head and Neck Cancer Q&A Webchat transcript.

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