“They were so friendly and warm and put me at ease that even though my cancer was serious, it could be handled. The treatment was simple, direct, and precise. My cancer is over now so I want to inspire others.”
– Pam

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Stereotactic Radiosurgery and Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy

Gamma West provides both Stereotactic Radiosurgery (SRS) and Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy (SBRT) as innovative cancer treatments. Despite their names, these treatments are non-invasive and are performed from a machine outside the body. Stereotactic Radiosurgery is a radiation treatment used to treat tumors of the brain and spine, while Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy treats other parts of the body.

Stereotactic Radiosurgery and Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy deliver precisely focused high levels of radiation to treat cancerous tumors. Like other forms of radiation, both treatments work by breaking down cancer cells so they are no longer able to grow and divide. This permits maximum dose delivery within the target area while minimizing exposure to the surrounding healthy tissue and organs. The goal is to deliver doses that will destroy the tumor and achieve permanent local control.

Treatment for Stereotactic Radiosurgery and Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy is generally completed in one to five days, as compared to the standard six to eight weeks for traditional therapy. These treatments offer a safe and effective alternative for those individuals who may not be candidates for conventional surgery. Both treatments can improve tumor control with reduced side effects and are also a good option for patients who have experienced a recurrence of their cancer.

Our Advanced TomoTherapy® Technology

TomoTherapy combines the precision of Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) with the real-time CT scan based target localization, also known as Image-Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT). This innovative treatment gives your radiation oncologists even more precision in how they plan and guide every treatment.

Before each treatment, a 3-dimentional (3-D) image of the tumor is taken to verify its precise size, shape and location. Your radiation oncologists then compare this current image with previous scans to ensure they are delivering the most accurate dose of radiation to the tumor site while minimizing exposure to surrounding healthy tissue and organs. The TomoTherapy radiation machine rotates around the patient in a spiral pattern, meaning radiation is delivered from all angles which helps ensure the most precise delivery to the tumor.

Benefits of TomoTherapy

TomoTherapy’s ability to incorporate radiation therapy and 3-D imaging to each patient’s specific treatment plan, helping to reduce the occurrence of short- and long-term side effects. This enables your radiation therapy team to monitor the tumor position and size on a daily basis, and allows for the most targeted delivery of radiation possible. Higher doses of energy can also be utilized, potentially increasing the efficacy of treatment.

What to Expect

You will have a CT scan or MRI to create a personalized treatment plan. Your doctor will use 3D images and special software to establish the precise contours for each tumor and any regions of risk (sensitive organs or structures). Your doctor will decide how much radiation the tumor should receive and the appropriate pattern, position and intensity of the radiation beam will be calculated.

Ink marks or small tattoo-like dots may be placed on your skin in the area of the tumor to ensure the radiation is delivered to the tumor. You may also need a custom-fitted molded device to help keep you in the same position before and during treatment.

Our radiation therapists will bring you from the waiting room, into the treatment room with the TomoTherapy® linear accelerator (radiation machine). The therapist will make you comfortable in the room and assist you in getting positioned on the treatment table.

A CT scan will be taken before each treatment to verify the position of the tumor. Your position will be adjusted if necessary to help make sure radiation is directed precisely where it should be.

Two therapists will align the laser to the target on your skin, indicated by the “tattoo-like” markings. Alignment takes only a couple of minutes. The therapists will leave the room to deliver and monitor your treatment.

During the treatment the machine will circulate around your body. You won’t feel anything. It’s much like having an x-ray. Sometimes the specific area of skin receiving treatment can get tender and sunburned, your healthcare team will want to know if you are experiencing any burning or discomfort during your treatment. Your healthcare team will guide you with proper care of your skin.

Typically the treatment takes about 10-15 minutes.

The most common side effect of radiation therapy is fatigue – it is very important to get plenty of rest and adequate nutrition. Generally, you will see your doctor weekly. We are always available if you need us.