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Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy

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Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy in Staten Island, NY

When it comes to finding the right cancer treatment, there are many options for patients to choose from. Stereotactic body radiotherapy is one method of cancer treatment that can be effective for treating many types of cancers. The team of physicians and healthcare professionals at Richmond University Medical Center’s Center for Cancer Care are here to provide cancer treatment options to patients across Staten Island. They use the most advanced technology available to make cancer treatment efficient and effective. Learn more about what stereotactic body radiotherapy is, how it works, what it can treat, and its side effects.

What Is Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy?

Stereotactic body radiotherapy, also referred to as stereotactic ablative radiotherapy, is a form of treatment for a variety of different cancers. It is ideal for treating smaller tumors that have yet to spread into other body areas. Stereotactic body radiotherapy uses intense beams of energy to deliver treatment to tumors. Designed to specifically target cancerous areas, it can save the surrounding healthy tissues and cells from radiation damage. There are two types of stereotactic body radiotherapy procedures, including:

Proton Beam

Proton beam radiotherapy is a new method of treatment that uses protons to eliminate tumors. This treatment is completed through many sessions. It can be a great option for instances when radiation therapy does not work or a tumor is located near important organs and structures.

Linear Accelerator

Linear accelerator is a method of radiotherapy treatment that uses a LINAC machine. It releases photons directly into cancerous areas. This can work to treat many types of tumors.

When this type of treatment is used to treat brain cancers, it may be called stereotactic radiosurgery.

How It Works

The stereotactic body radiotherapy procedure is typically completed in up to one hour, with some sessions lasting as little as 15 minutes. Patients are not required to stay at a hospital facility following treatment and can usually return home after the procedure. It is also not necessary to have a loved one come with them to their appointment, unless for emotional support. The treatment is not painful and feels similar to getting an X-ray. Patients are typically awake throughout the procedure and do not undergo anesthesia.

During treatment, concentrated beams of high-dose radiation are delivered from different directions. It uses 3D or 4D imaging processes along with beams of radiation to distribute high radiation levels to specific body areas. These beams are designed to specifically target and stop the growth of cancerous cells, which create tumors. They attack the DNA found inside cancer cells and keep them from multiplying and growing. They can also block blood vessels from reaching tumors, which keeps them alive. In turn, it can help to shrink tumors and kill off cancerous cells.

Because stereotactic body radiotherapy delivers radiation only to body areas affected by cancer, it may reduce damage to healthy body parts, structures, and cells.

Cancers Treated by Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy

Stereotactic body radiotherapy can assist in treating a variety of cancers, including:

Lung Cancer

This is a common form of cancer that affects the lungs. It occurs when cancerous cells grow out of control within the lungs, creating a tumor. Causes of lung cancer include smoking, inhaling air pollution, or having a family history of the disease. Stereotactic body radiotherapy is a lung cancer treatment that can work on many lung cancer types, including small cell and non-small cell lung cancer. It targets lung tumors without damaging the entire lung.

Liver Cancer

Liver cancer is a kind of cancer found in the liver and liver bile ducts. The liver is responsible for aiding digestion and pulling the necessary nutrients out of food to keep humans active. Treatment for liver cancer is important to maintaining proper body functions. There are two types of liver cancer – primary and secondary. Stereotactic body radiotherapy is one method physicians use to attack cancerous cells within the liver to preserve healthy cells and reduce tumor size.

Prostate Cancer

This is a type of cancer that grows in the prostate gland, a part of the body in charge of sperm regulation. It starts from the presence of cancerous cells found in the prostate gland. These cells grow and multiply, which can take over healthy prostate cells. Undergoing stereotactic body radiotherapy can be an effective treatment option for those diagnosed with prostate cancer.

Pancreatic Cancer

This is a kind of cancer that grows in the pancreas, which is also responsible for regulating digestion in the body. Cancerous cells can multiply within the pancreas, creating tumors. There are two types of pancreatic cancers – neuroendocrine tumors and exocrine tumors. Stereotactic body radiotherapy can work to attack cancerous cells in the pancreas, which may potentially shrink tumors and kill off cancer cells.

In addition to cancerous tumors, stereotactic body radiotherapy can also be used to treat benign tumors in certain areas of the body.

Side Effects of Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy

Some patients may experience stereotactic body radiotherapy side effects following treatment, including:

  • Itchy, dry, or irritated skin
  • Fatigue
  • Vomiting or nausea
  • Swelling at the treatment site

It is also possible that some patients may experience other symptoms long after treatment is complete, such as:

  • Recurring cancer
  • Fragile bones
  • Swelling in legs and arms
  • Changes in bladder or bowel activity
  • Spinal cord issues
  • Lung problems

Symptoms vary for each patient depending on the type and location of their cancer. For example, those who receive treatment near the liver or bowel may be more susceptible to developing vomiting or nausea symptoms. If a patient is experiencing uncomfortable side effects from treatment, they can ask their physician to prescribe them medications. These medications can work to reduce nausea, help with pain, and decrease inflammation.

Cancer Treatment at Richmond University Medical Center

Richmond University Medical Center delivers a compassionate, comprehensive approach to patient healthcare. With the knowledge to assist patients and their families, physicians help patients make the right decisions regarding cancer treatment. Several Richmond University Medical Center locations exist across Staten Island for easy, convenient healthcare. To learn more about stereotactic body radiotherapy and other cancer treatments, contact us today.