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Stereotactic radiosurgery for spinal cancer

What is SRS?

Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS), also called stereotactic radiation therapy (SRT), delivers high doses of radiation to tumors with great precision.

Using imaging technology, our radiation oncologists first map the location of the tumor. Then, using highly sophisticated computer equipment, SRS shapes multiple radiation beams tightly around the tumor to destroy cancerous cells.

We often perform SRS with Varian’s Trilogy or with the CyberKnife® VSI Robotic Radiosurgery System. Our doctors also deliver fractionated stereotactic radiosurgery. In this treatment, the total dose of radiation is divided into several smaller doses of radiation, delivered over several days.

SRS for spinal cancer

SRS is generally used to treat small tumors contained in localized areas of the spinal cord. There are some circumstances where we may use stereotactic radiosurgery to treat metastatic spinal tumors (as an alternative to whole-brain radiation or surgical resection), particularly for tumors in more than one location.

With SRS, we can focus radiation to the outline of the tumor and protect nearby healthy tissue, which is especially important for the spine. Some additional potential advantages of SRS for spinal cancer include:

  • SRS precisely focuses radiation around the spinal tumor from different angles, allowing us to deliver a large radiation dose to the tumor with less damage to nearby healthy spinal tissue. SRS modulates the intensity of the radiation beams, sparing the surrounding spinal tissue from significant doses of radiation.
  • Using SRS, we can reach tumors in the spine without the risks of surgery. There is no incision, minimal discomfort, reduced recovery times, and few of the risks typically associated with surgery, such as infection.
  • Because of its precision, SRS may be an option for individuals who have received previous radiation, as SRS can avoid previously treated areas.

Helping you maintain your quality of life

Your care team anticipates and proactively manages the side effects of spinal cancer radiation therapy. Before, during and after your SRS treatment, you’ll receive integrative oncology services designed to keep you strong, reduce the side effects of radiation and promote your overall well-being.

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