Image Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT) for Mesothelioma

Using image guided radiation therapy, or IGRT, can help radiologists to apply radiation to a very specific area.

Radiation beams are targeted at the mesothelioma cells with such great precision that it often has minimal impact on the surrounding healthy cells as compared to conventional radiation therapy.

Coordination of Imaging Devices and Therapy Devices

The radiologist will use IGRT technology to perform an image scan after each radiation therapy session. If the site of the tumor has changed because of the motion from other organs, for example, the radiologist has the ability to change the therapy to coordinate with the tumor during treatment. This can all be done without moving the patient.

How Does This Therapy Work?

Understanding how this form of therapy works can help patients to decide if they would like more information from their doctor. IGRT uses imaging to determine the exact location of a tumor. By doing this, collateral damage to surrounding tissues is lower and a more targeted radiation therapy is administered to the tumor.

Key Obstacles to This Technology

First, the high cost of using technology such as this can be a challenge, making it difficult for some patients to afford. Another challenge is not every doctor has the qualifications to use this technology. This complex technology requires thorough knowledge to be used properly. However, as this technology continues to improve, the cost is expected to go down and doctors will become more familiar with operating this type of equipment. 

Beware of Adverse Side Effects

The quantity and location of radiation can determine the extent of patient side effects. Some patients have reported having a difficult time swallowing which can sometimes result in malnutrition caused by radiation injuries to the esophagus. In some cases, scarring of the lung tissue may also be present.