Image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT) - Signs, Symptoms, Treatment

Image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT) Details

IGRT stands for “Image-guided radiotherapy” which uses X-rays, CT scans and various other imaging techniques before and during radiotherapy treatment. These X-rays and scans show the size, shape, and position of the cancer tissue as well as the surrounding tissues and bones. Later this technique is used to treat cancers and tumours of a particular organ by precisely delivering medicated radiations to them and by killing of such extra growth/tissue.

IGRT is most suitable for Tumours of the Prostate, Urinary Bladder, Lungs and Gynaecological cancers. With IGRT, doctors can target the radiotherapy treatment very accurately, this can mean that the treatment works better in curing or controlling a cancer. It can also reduce the risk of side effects. (IGRT) uses advanced imaging technology to better define the tumour target and is the key to reducing and ultimately eliminating the uncertainties with less damage to the healthy tissue.

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Before Image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT)

For some IGRT procedures, electromagnetic transponders (Instrument to indicate prostate size) may be placed inside the body, near or in the tumor to help the treatment team identify the area. They are usually placed at least one week prior to the first radiation therapy treatment. The patient's skin also may be marked or tattooed with colored ink to help align and target the radiation equipment.

How it is performed

At the beginning of each radiation therapy session, the patient is carefully positioned guided by the marks on the skin defining the treatment area. Images are then taken using imaging equipment. The physicians or a radiation therapist then review the images and compare them to the images taken during simulation. The patient may be repositioned, and additional imaging may be performed. After the patient positioning and other adjustments, the radiation therapy is delivered to the patient.


The patient would have follow-up appointments with your doctor, where they will evaluate your response to the treatment. You may have blood tests, x-rays, and scans during these visits for the same.  There are chances of some side effects depending on the area being treated; treatment area becomes red, swollen, can cause itching and irritation, hair loss in the treatment area, etc. During these follow-up visits; the doctor will gradually help you recover from the same. Therefore it is recommended not to miss any of them.

Potential Risks

The following risks are possible during the Image Guided Radiation Therapy procedure:

  • Risk of a secondary cancer (in the future)
  • Changes in the lung, brain, spinal cord and bone joints, which may occur in rare cases 
  • Infertility
  • The procedure may not be advised for pregnant women and children 


Additional Information

Treatment is completely painless, similar to getting an x-ray. You will hear a noise from the machine, but nothing will touch you and you will feel nothing. After a few weeks, some patients may experience localized side effects. All likely side effects will be discussed with you during consultation and treatment planning.

Cost for Image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT)

India from $4,650

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