Stereotactic Radiation Therapy

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Stereotactic radiation therapy (SRT) is mainly used to treat small brain tumours that are either malignant or benign. It is used to treat tumours deep within the brain or tumours that cannot be removed surgically because doing so would damage too much normal brain tissue. SRT may also be used to treat tumours within the neck or spine.

Using high doses and precision targeting means SRT treatment may take only a few sessions. Treatment can sometimes be finished in days instead of weeks.
With SRT, small beams are targeted at the tumour from many different angles. Because the beams meet at the tumour it gets a full dose of radiation, but the surrounding healthy tissue gets a much smaller amount.

This technology was made possible, in part, by a donation from the Angela d'Audney foundation

In more detail

Stereo means 3-dimensional (3-D) and tactic means to probe. Stereotactic radiation therapy allows radiation beams to be given to a very specific area, usually the brain or spine. It is a non-invasive technique that delivers a high dose of radiation using many micro-millimetre sized beams, each carrying small doses from different angles. The treatment planning for SRT is highly complex, allowing each beam to be aimed very precisely. The result is that the tumour receives a high dose while minimising radiation exposure to surrounding healthy tissues.

SRT is used to treat small, well-defined tumours in the brain or deep within the body. ARO uses a specially modified linear accelerator to deliver a large dose of radiation in a single or a few stereotactic treatments. When treating brain tumours, the head must be kept in the same position for each treatment. Patients receiving SRT to the head or neck will wear a removable head frame or mask during their planning scans and treatment to ensure accuracy of radiation delivery.

Radiation therapy  is evolving rapidly, with ground breaking techniques like stereotactic and hypo-fractioned therapies increasingly becoming standard care for many cancers like tumours in the lung, liver and pancreas or secondary brain tumours. This innovative treatment is less invasive than surgery, may be more applicable to a broader range of cancers and reduces treatment time to days instead of weeks. 

Higher doses of radiation, 4D image guidance, and a robotic patient positioning HexaPOD™evo couch system are features of the stereotactic radiation therapy treatment. The couch system provides six degrees of freedom positioning including translational and rotational corrections. These technologies allow the patient to be positioned to within less than a millimetre, and greatly enhance accuracy when targeting the tumour.