5 Things You Need To Know About Stereotactic Radiosurgery

The AIHW Cancer Data Center estimates that about 150,782 people will be diagnosed with cancer in 2021. Of these, about 1,896 are likely to have brain cancer, and the fatality rate will be about 0.52%. Extensive research in the field has led to the development of many treatments for brain cancer patients, including Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy (SBRT) or Stereotactic Radiosurgery (SRS).

SBRT has targeted radiation, which preserves healthy tissue while destroying malignant cells. It can be used on the brain, liver, spine, lungs, and neck. It is a non-invasive process and is used to treat tumours. Despite its benefits in treatment SBRT side effects are common among patients. Here are the top five things you need to know about Stereotactic Radiosurgery (SRS).

Stereotactic Radiosurgery

Terminology

Stereotactic Radiosurgery (SRS) is radiotherapy that is performed specifically on the brain. When the procedure is performed on other body parts, it is referred to as stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT). Both are non-invasive and involve targeted radiation on the tumour to destroy it while protecting healthy cells.

Equipment Used

There are three ways by which radiation is delivered to the tumour. The Gamma Knife uses either 192 or 201 beams of gamma rays to the targeted area. It works best on small tumours. The Linear Accelerator (LINAC) directs high-energy photons or x-rays, which can target a small tumour in a single session and need three to five sessions for a large tumour.

Proton Beam Radiosurgery is the latest in SRS technology and uses protons to destroy malignant tumours. The proton beam can be used at locations that until recently only received radiation therapy or parts in close proximity to vital organs.

Types of Cancer it is Used For

Stereotactic Radiosurgery can be used to treat cancer in different parts of the body. Some of the most common usages are brain tumours, arteriovenous malformation, trigeminal neuralgia, acoustic neuroma, pituitary tumours, and several other tumours in the lungs, liver, and spine.

While the treatment is highly effective, there can be side effects such as fatigue, nausea, and swelling. A few delayed side effects can be brittle bones, impact on bowel movement, variations in lungs and spinal cord, and swelling in arms and legs. These delayed symptoms may develop a few months after the treatment, and you need to consult your physician to treat them.

What to Expect During the Procedure?

While your physician will give you detailed instructions about how to prep for the procedure, you will be anxious about how it feels when it is being carried out. You can relax as the process is painless, almost similar to getting an x-ray. You will not see, hear, or feel a thing. When SRS is being done, you may experience flashes of light, but nothing more. One session can last between 30-60 minutes, and you should be able to resume normal activity in a day or two.

SRS and SBRT are breakthrough treatments that have helped a lot of cancer patients defeat the disease. The side effects of the treatment can be overcome with the help of your physician’s advice. The best part about this treatment is that it allows patients to get back to their lives within a couple of days.

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