Nick underwent radiation therapy twice a day for 4 weeks and 4 days. The amount of radiation delivered to the location of the tumor was 5,500 rads. Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) is method of radiotherapy that utilizes computer-controlled x-ray accelerators to deliver precise radiation doses to a malignant tumor. IMRT conforms the radiation dose more precisely to the three-dimensional (3-D) shape of the tumor by controlling (modulating) the intensity of the radiation beam. IMRT also allows higher radiation doses to be focused to regions within the tumor while minimizing the dose to surrounding normal critical structures.
Dr. Sarah Donaldson led the team to plan treatment for Nick and as always took a personal interest in making sure Nick was comfortable along the way. The treatment plan was to use 3-D computed tomography (CT) images in conjunction with computerized dose calculations to determine the dose intensity pattern that would best conform to the tumor shape.
In Nick’s case planning treatment was complex because of several constraints: (1) They needed to take into account the overlap from the radiation field that was used to treat his rhabdomyosarcoma 6 years ago. (2) They needed to stay away from his eye. (3) They needed to consider his pattern of nosebleeds as a result of the last treatment. (4) The needed to identify the location of the tumor before and after it was removed. (5) They needed a treatment plan that eradicated any microscopic evidence of tumor and preserved quality of life in the future.