Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy
Intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) is a newer type of external radiation treatment delivered by machines called linear accelerators. In it, the physician sets the goals of the radiation treatment and a computer helps arrive at those goals by a process called inverse planning. In IMRT, the pattern of radiation in each beam used in the treatment has a varied pattern instead of a more uniform pattern like one found in standard radiation therapy. The patterns are varied in order to deliver the best possible pattern of radiation for each radiation field. UAB was the first to bring IMRT to Alabama in 1999. IMRT has distinct advantages when compared to other forms of treatment. Its computer-calculated modulation of radiation produces a greater dose of radiation to the tumor with less radiation to normal tissue. In order to deliver the optimal radiation pattern, a moving multi-leaf collimator is utilized that changes the shape of the radiation beam during therapy, allowing for great adaptability in treatment. IMRT has potential applications in the treatment of prostate, brain, head and neck, lung, and abdominal cancers. Protocols are under development for other sites including breast cancer and retroperitoneal sarcomas.
UAB Radiation Oncology offers a wide range of advanced treatment techniques in radiation therapy including triggered imaging radiosurgery, Gamma Knife surgery, medical dosimetry, Three-Dimensional Conformal Radiation Therapy, Brachytherapy, External Beam Radiation Therapy, Image-Guided Radiotherapy, Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy, radioisotope therapy, Stereotactic body radiation therapy, Total Body Irradiation, and Total Skin Irradiation.
In keeping with our position as a leading academic medical center, UAB’s research is at the forefront of medicine, providing our patients with the latest and most innovative medical treatment and technology. Our physicians utilize state-of-the-art technology that can precisely target tumors while sparing healthy tissue.
UAB physicians, nurses, and clinical staff create and encourage a supportive and caring environment for patients. They understand what it is like to be on the patient side of the table and consider that in every stage of care. They encourage patients to take an active and informed role in their health and treatment, while tailoring care plans and guidance to each patient’s individual needs.
We recognize that delivering the best clinical outcomes is our primary goal, but we also understand that how we deliver those outcomes determines the overall quality of your interaction with us. When we work in the laboratory, we realize that that our families and future generations are counting on us to develop novel clinical solutions to today’s health problems. When we teach tomorrow’s healthcare professionals, we are shaping tomorrow’s leaders in clinical care and research. When we treat today’s patients, we are aiding the great leaders of tomorrow.
UAB Radiation Oncology clinicians are at the forefront of modern medicine. Their work with the greatest medical minds of today, along with their training of the physicians and researchers of tomorrow, leaves them well-versed in the latest clinical practices and in the creation of promising treatment options for tomorrow.
Proton International at UAB
Proton International at UAB is Alabama’s first and only proton therapy center. Rather than traditional radiation, the center uses protons to reduce the dose to the healthy surrounding tissue and nearby organs, which leads to fewer side effects, better long-term outcomes, and improved quality of life in many patients.
Sonya Sutton was shocked when a routine breast exam led to the discovery of breast cancer. Learn more about Sonya's five year journey with cancer and why she credits UAB's team of oncologist and surgeons with her survival.
UAB is an active participant in research and clinical trials. We encourage you to speak to your physician about research and clinical trial options and browse the link below for more information.View Clinical Trials
- Your Radiation Therapy Visit
- Supportive Care and Survivorship Clinic
Your Radiation Therapy Visit
The patient's visit begins with a consultation with a physician specialist from our team of experts who will determine if the patient's condition is suitable for radiation treatment and therapy. During the consultation, the specialist will explain in detail the therapeutic procedure and answer any questions for the patient.
Once the consultation is complete, the patient proceeds to simulation, which is the process of creating a specific road map to treat the patient's cancer. If necessary, a custom immobilization device will be designed to ensure that the patient remains still during treatment and that the radiation beam hits the precise target in the body. During the simulation, a computed tomography (CT) is performed to identify the exact size, shape, and position of the cancer target in the body. From this information, a team of specialists generates treatment delivery parameters to treat the cancer.
Next, the team of physicians, physicists, dosimetrists, and therapists develop a patient specific treatment plan that will guide the radiation delivery devices to treat the precise cancer target in the body. Each of step leads to the development of the optimal treatment plan to remove the patient's cancer.
Supportive Care and Survivorship Clinic
The Supportive Care and Survivorship Clinic takes an interdisciplinary approach to caring for patients with serious illnesses, whether they are in active treatment or have completed treatment. Our goal is to help patients fulfill their maximum physical, emotional, spiritual, vocational, and social potential.
The health professionals at the Supportive Care and Survivorship Clinic help patients manage the side effects associated with cancer. Referrals to the Supportive Care and Survivorship Clinic can be made by any treating physician or nurse or by patient self-referral. A broad range of insurance is accepted.
Patient appointment scheduling is flexible and based on patient needs and other concurrent treatments. Clinic sessions are held Wednesday and Friday mornings with palliative care physicians and fellows. A physician assistant is available Monday through Friday.
Physicians and physician assistants have special expertise in complex symptom management including depression, anxiety, insomnia, fatigue, loss of appetite, pain syndromes, and others.
Nurses support patients by facilitating the clinic sessions as well as managing communication with patients. They are the front line of patient care.
Physical therapists develop individualized programs for each patient to help with coordination, balance, strength, endurance, flexibility, or range of motion. Counselors are experienced in structuring counseling sessions to meet the specific needs of each person. Individual, couple, and family sessions are available.
Nutritionists have expertise in nutrition for patients with serious illnesses.
Massage therapists are trained in all types of massage, including oncology massage, which is a specialized approach that supports the body's health before, during, and after treatment for cancer.
Our clinic is an active teaching environment with fellows, residents, and students in both medicine and nursing participating in patient care.
The UAB Supportive Care and Survivorship Clinic is located on the 3rd floor of The Kirklin Clinic of UAB Hospital.
Patients can request an appointment online or by calling UAB Healthfinder at 205.934.9999 or 800.822.8816.