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Stereotactic Radiosurgery

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Stereotactic Radiosurgery in Staten Island, NY

Receiving cancer treatment can be difficult. However, knowing all of the options allows patients to be well-informed before making a decision. Stereotactic radiosurgery is one method of cancer treatment to consider.

Richmond University Medical Center (RUMC) has extensive experience in treating a variety of cancerous conditions, including brain, spinal, and other cancers. Serving patients across Staten Island, oncologists RUMC’s Center for Cancer Care use advanced technologies and medical practices to deliver high-quality oncology care. Learn more about stereotactic radiosurgery.

What Is Stereotactic Radiosurgery?

Stereotactic radiosurgery is a less invasive method of radiation oncology treatment for certain cancers, such as brain and spinal cancers. It is ideal for use with small tumors or ones that are hard to reach. Stereotactic radiosurgery uses radiation beams to directly target tumors in many areas of the body. The radiation beam is designed to be closely focused on the tumor itself, which keeps the surrounding healthy tissues free from intense damage. Stereotactic radiosurgery procedures not used on the brain can also be called stereotactic ablative radiotherapy or stereotactic body radiotherapy.

This cancer treatment uses three different methods to deliver radiation to cancerous areas, such as:

Proton Beam Therapy

Proton beam therapy, also called charged particle radiosurgery, is a newer method of stereotactic radiosurgery treatment. It uses proton beams to eliminate tumors and kill off cancerous cells.

Linear Accelerator

This method uses a LINAC machine to deliver X-ray beams to cancerous areas. It can be used on the brain and other body parts. Linear accelerator treatment can deliver radiation in one to five sessions. For this procedure, patients lie on a bed while the machine moves around them. This ensures radiation beams hit the tumor from many angles.

Gamma Knife

Gamma knife radiosurgery is a treatment used to eliminate both cancerous and noncancerous tumors in the brain. It produces gamma ray beams to shrink tumors and reduce cancer cells. Gamma knife treatment is ideal for small to medium-sized brain tumors.

Similar to linear accelerator treatment, this procedure requires that patients lie on a bed. However, the bed moves with the machine throughout treatment. Gamma knife radiosurgery can take anywhere from one to four hours to complete.

How It Works to Treat Cancer

Stereotactic radiosurgery is not like traditional surgery in that surgeons must make an incision to reach the tumor. Instead, it uses 3D imaging processes and a group of smaller-sized beams to deliver high-level radiation directly to the tumor. It is designed to attack cancer cell DNA to limit their ability to multiply. In turn, this can cause tumor shrinkage and cancer cells to die off.

The benefit of stereotactic radiosurgery is that it produces little damage to surrounding body structures and cells, or the tissues in which it passes through. Tumors also require a stable, consistent blood supply to grow. Stereotactic radiosurgery works to cut off that blood supply, which shrinks and eliminates tumors.

Patients are not required to stay in a hospital following the procedure. They can typically return home after treatment is complete. However, treatment can last for the majority of the day. Stereotactic radiosurgery treatment can be delivered over one to five sessions. It can be beneficial to have a loved one come with a patient to their appointment for emotional support and assistance.

Before treatment, patients may need an intravenous (IV) line to stay hydrated during the procedure. Physicians may also use special equipment to hold the patient’s position throughout treatment. This allows radiation to be precisely delivered to the tumor. For some brain cancers, the patient’s head is placed into a head frame to keep it still during treatment.

Cancers Treated Using Stereotactic Radiosurgery

Stereotactic radiosurgery can help treat many kinds of cancer, including:

Brain Cancer

Brain cancer is a condition that involves tumor growth in the brain and brain systems. Tumors can appear in many brain areas, and they can severely impact one’s ability to complete daily tasks.

Stereotactic radiosurgery is most commonly done on brain tumors. This is because it can precisely attack tumors without resorting to invasive surgery or damaging important nearby brain structures. Those undergoing this treatment for brain cancer often only require one session.

Head and Neck Cancer

This type of cancer is located in the sinuses, throat, nose, larynx, salivary glands, or mouth. Because the head and neck contain small, fragile structures, stereotactic radiosurgery can be ideal. The precise design of the machine allows radiation to directly access tumors in the head and neck. This not only saves surrounding structures from intense damage, but it can shrink tumors.

Lung Cancer

Lung cancer is the presence of tumors and cancerous cells in the lungs. There are two kinds of lung cancer a patient can become diagnosed with – non-small cell lung cancer and small cell lung cancer. For small-sized tumors, stereotactic radiosurgery can be an efficient lung cancer treatment method. It kills off cancerous cells and reduces tumor size.

Liver Cancer

This kind of cancer occurs when tumors grow in the liver, a part of the body responsible for managing digestion. Because the liver ensures the body receives essential nutrients, treatment is important to restore natural body functions. Stereotactic radiosurgery can be ideal for eliminating liver tumors, decreasing the amount of cancer cells in the liver, and keeping surrounding tissues healthy.

Spinal Cancer

Spinal cancer develops when the spine presents cancerous cells. These cells can be found in the nerves, bone structure, fluid, and tissues of the spine. It most commonly stems from other cancers in the body. Many nerves in the spinal cord are essential for delivering messages from the brain to the rest of the body.

Stereotactic radiosurgery can help to preserve the nerves surrounding the tumor, creating less damage. Similar to brain cancer, those diagnosed with spine cancer typically only need one treatment session.

Side Effects of Stereotactic Radiosurgery

There can be a few uncomfortable stereotactic radiosurgery side effects depending on where a patient receives treatment, such as:

  • Sensitive or irritated scalp
  • Scalp redness
  • Hair loss
  • Fatigue
  • Swelling
  • Headache
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Skin irritation at the site of treatment
  • Diarrhea
  • Seizures
  • Weakness
  • Tingling/numbness

If a patient is experiencing symptoms following treatment, physicians can provide medications and other methods to relieve side effects. Symptoms typically subside after a few weeks.

Stereotactic Radiosurgery in Staten Island, NY

If a patient is seeking the right cancer treatment for them, the physicians at Richmond University Medical Center can help. We serve patients across Staten Island, New York, delivering personalized, care services to those diagnosed with cancer and other conditions. To learn more about stereotactic radiosurgery and other cancer treatments, contact us today.