What is Stereotactic Radiosurgery?
Stereotactic radiosurgery, or SRS, is a means of administering radiation to brain tumours. It is used for treating tumours that begin in the brain as well as brain metastases (cancer that has spread from other parts of the body to the brain).
The procedure uses advanced imaging techniques coupled with advanced computer guidance to deliver a highly targeted and intense dose of photon radiation. The radiation follows the tumour’s three-dimensional shape and size, resulting in reduced exposure to the rest of the brain and fewer side effects compared to traditional methods of radiation.
What types of cancers are treated with Stereotactic Radiosurgery?
Stereotactic radiosurgery for patients with small brain tumours has become an increasingly popular technique. Other Stereotactic Radiosurgery candidates also include those patients whose disease is not surgically accessible or too advanced for neurosurgery, as well as those who cannot tolerate anaesthesia.
Stereotactic radiosurgery is not appropriate for everybody. It is performed on the following types of cancer:
- Vestibular schwannoma
- Meningioma which started at the base of the skull
- Pituitary gland tumour
- Cancer that has spread to the brain from elsewhere in the body
How is Stereotactic Radiosurgery done?
A radiation oncologist uses a computerized system to shape the radiation beam to align with a three-dimensional tumour outline. MRI and CT scans produce this outline which taken before the treatment. Radiation is then directed at the tumour.
What are the side effects of Stereotactic Radiosurgery?
Side effects of Stereotactic Radiosurgery may include:
- Skin problems
- Hair loss in the treatment area
- Difficulty in swallowing
- Nausea and vomiting
- Swelling, especially of the brain