Stereotactic Radiosurgery, Radiotherapy and Stereotacic Body Radiation Therapy
Stereotactic radiosurgery, or SRS, is a non-invasive radiotherapy procedure. It focuses a single fraction of high dose, tightly focused radiation beams onto the tumor while minimizing the radiation dose to the surrounding normal tissues / organs, and thus reducing long term side effects. Stereotactic radiosurgery optimally targets tumors in the brain, spine, lung and liver. For patients unable to be treated with a surgical procedure, it offers a very effective noninvasive treatment option with virtually the same outcomes. It may also be combined with surgery to treat any remaining cancerous cells. SRS, when delivered using anywhere from 2-5 fractions, is called stereotactic radiotherapy (SRT). SRT also uses high doses of tightly focused radiation beams with the same advantages as SRS: non-invasive treatment of cancers or benign tumors with virtually the same outcome as surgery while sparing side effects to the surrounding critical normal tissues / organs.
Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy and Image-Guided Radiation Therapy
IMRT, intensity-modulated radiation therapy, uses varied strengths of radiation beams which are targeted with a 3-D conformal approach to deliver high doses of radiation to the tumor while minimizing radiation to the surrounding critical organs. Thus, IMRT allows very high doses of radiation therapy to be delivered to many tumors such as prostate cancers, head and neck tumors, lung cancers and brain tumors with minimal side effects. IGRT, image-guided radiation therapy, is the use of imaging technology, such as computed tomography (CT) scanning, to deliver IMRT daily.
Brachytherapy treatment uses ionizing radiation delivered by radioactive material placed a short distance from, or within, the tumor. For example, prostate cancer brachytherapy involves the insertion of radioactive seeds into the prostate gland using ultrasound-and-template guided technology. Brachytherapy is also used to treat breast (mammosite), cervical, uterine and vaginal cancers. Depending on the type of cancer you have, high-dose rate (HDR) or low-dose rate (LDR) brachytherapy may be used.
One of the most advanced radiotherapy technologies is a linear accelerator called TrueBeam by Varian Medical Systems. TrueBeam delivers many forms of radiotherapy treatment, including:
• 3-D conformal radiation therapy (3-D CRT)
• Image-guided radiotherapy (IGRT)
• Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT)
• Gated RapidArc® radiotherapy used for lung and other tumors subject to respiratory motion
TrueBeam effectively treats cancers anywhere in the body including the head and neck, lung, brain, spine, liver and abdomen regions. Its precise targeting capabilities dramatically reduce treatment times for patients while lowering side effects. Radiotherapy treatments that once took 30 minutes are now completed in less than ten minutes. In addition, patients have fewer side effects due to the precise targeting of the radiation beams.
As part of our clinical trial research program, early stage breast cancer participants may be treated with the GammaPod in the future. GammaPod is a revolutionary technology which uses several conformal concentrated beams to treat early stage and favorable breast tumors without delivering virtually any radiation dose to the surrounding critical organs such as the lungs and / or the heart. Our cancer center is one of only three sites nationwide selected to test the GammaPod's technology over the next few years. With this technology, treatment time will be significantly reduced from six weeks to three to five days, a radical departure from conventional radiation therapy treatments for breast cancer.