5 Treatments vs 40 Treatments
Stereotactic Radiosurgery (SRS) and Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy (SBRT)
Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) is a non-surgical radiation therapy used to treat functional abnormalities and small tumors of the brain. It can deliver precisely-targeted radiation in fewer high-dose treatments than traditional therapy, which can help preserve healthy tissue. Despite its name, SRS is a non-surgical procedure that delivers precisely-targeted radiation at much higher doses, in only a single or few treatments, as compared to traditional radiation therapy.
When SRS is used to treat body tumors, it’s called stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT).
SRS is used to treat:
Many types of brain tumors including:
– benign and malignant
– primary and metastatic
– single and multiple
– residual tumor cells following surgery
– intracranial, orbital and base-of-skull tumors
– Arteriovenous malformations (AVMs), a tangle of expanded blood vessels that disrupts normal blood flow in the brain and sometimes bleeds.
– Other neurological conditions like trigeminal neuralgia (a nerve disorder in the face), tremor, etc.
SBRT is currently used and/or being investigated for use in treating malignant or benign small-to-medium size tumors in the body and common disease sites, including the:
– head and neck
SRS and SBRT rely on several technologies which we have at our facility:
– three-dimensional imaging and localization techniques that determine the exact coordinates of the target within the body
– systems to immobilize and carefully position the patient and maintain the patient position during therapy
– highly focused gamma-ray or x-ray beams that converge on a tumor or abnormality
– Image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT) which uses medical imaging to confirm the location of a tumor immediately before, and in some cases, during the delivery of radiation. IGRT improves the precision and accuracy of the treatment
SRS and SBRT are important alternatives to invasive surgery, especially for patients who are unable to undergo surgery and for tumors and abnormalities that are:
– hard to reach
– located close to vital organs/anatomic regions
– subject to movement within the body
Your Radiation Team
If you are getting radiation to treat cancer, an important person on your medical team will be a radiation oncologist. They are a doctor with special training in how to use radiation therapy.
Your radiation oncologist will work with other specialists to plan the best way to target the radiation beam at your tumor. This team may include a:
– Radiation Therapist, who can answer any questions
– Oncology nurse, who can answer questions and help manage side effects
– Medical radiation physicist, who helps plan your radiation treatment
– Dosimetrist, who helps figure out the right dose of radiation
Frequently Asked Questions
What is stereotactic radiosurgery and how is it used?
Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) is a highly precise form of radiation therapy initially developed to treat small brain tumors and functional abnormalities of the brain. This treatment is only possible due to the development of highly advanced radiation technologies that permit maximum dose delivery within the target while minimizing dose to the surrounding healthy tissue. The goal is to deliver doses that will destroy the tumor and achieve permanent local control.
What Is Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy (SBRT)?
If you have certain kinds of cancer, such as lung cancer or pancreatic cancer, your doctor may suggest you get a type of radiation therapy called stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT). It’s a very precise method that lets your doctor accurately target your tumors.
How accurate is SRS and SBRT?
Cranial SRS and body tumor SBRT is highly precise radiation where delivery is accurate to within one to two millimeters – the thickness of penny.
Do I have to be inpatient for these treatments?
No, SRS and SBRT are usually performed on an outpatient basis and we are an outpatient facility.
What precautions do I need to take?
You MUST tell your doctor if there’s a possibility you are pregnant or if you’re breastfeeding or if you’re taking oral medication or insulin to control diabetes.
Ask your doctor if you should plan to have someone drive you home afterward and whether you should refrain from eating or drinking or taking medication several hours before treatment.
Discuss whether you have an implanted medical device, claustrophobia or allergies to contrast materials.
Who Is SBRT For?
Your doctor may recommend SBRT if you have cancer of the:
What side effects will I experience?
The most common side effects of SBRT are:
– Feeling tired
– Redness, like sunburn, at the place on your body where you got the radiation
– Itchiness in the area of the radiation
– Swelling in the spot you had the radiation
– Nausea or vomiting if the tumor is near your bowel or liver
What Happens During Treatment?
Before the procedure starts, your doctor will give you medication to help you feel less anxious, if you need it.
When you get your SBRT/SRS, you will be in the same position that you were in during the simulation. If your medical team made a special bed for you, you will lie on it. If you medical team made a special mask, you will wear it.
The team will use the CT scanner that is part of the radiation machine to see your tumor. The team will then use the machine to deliver the radiation beams, which will take just a few minutes. You will not feel any pain.
What can I do to take care of myself?
To help your treatment go easier, try these tips:
– Get as much rest as possible
– Eat a healthy diet
– Ask your team about skin lotions that can help with pain or itchiness from radiation
– Stay out of the sun as much as possible