The field of radiation oncology continues to evolve and advance, offering a wide variety of radiation therapy options for patients depending on their specific cancer and the complexity of the cancer.
Patients and family members often have a lot of questions about radiation therapy and the options available. My job is not only to treat my patients but to fully answer their questions and go over the pros and cons of a particular treatment option.
I am often asked, “What is radiosurgery?” In spite of its name, radiosurgery is not a surgical procedure. It’s a noninvasive treatment that allows radiation oncologists to use a fraction of radiation to precisely target the tumor. Radiosurgery spares the healthy tissue surrounding the tumor.
For brain and spinal metastases, we use stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) radiation therapy. We use stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) to treat lung, liver, prostate and other cancer types, as determined by the radiation oncologist.
SBRT radiation therapy is occasionally used in conjunction with Calypso® to treat prostate cancer. Calypso technology allows radiation oncologists to track the movement of the prostate in real time and concentrate radiation to the tumor.
There are several technologies that deliver a radiosurgery technique. For example, both the CyberKnife® and Gamma Knife® deliver radiosurgery techniques. Here at Midwestern, we use the Varian TrueBeam® or the Varian Trilogy™ and TomoTherapy® technologies to deliver radiosurgery treatments. All treatment plans are individualized.
When patients are deciding what type of treatment is right for them, they should remember there are many options available. Because radiosurgery is often used in conjunction with other conventional treatments, you need to make sure that your medical, radiation and surgical oncologists are working together to design a treatment plan that is right for you.