Radiation Therapy for Brain and Spinal Cord Tumors
Radiation therapy uses high-powered X-rays, seeds or radioactive material to shrink or destroy your tumor.
- Image Guidance Makes Targeting Tumors More Precise
At Scott & White, we use Image-Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT) with radiation therapy treatments for brain and spinal cord tumors. IGRT is the use of frequent imaging during your radiation therapy treatments to ensure absolute accuracy of treatment.
Benefits of IGRT include:
- Patient and tumor motion tracked with the use of image guidance
- Radiation beam adjusted in response to current tumor image to maintain accuracy and reduce likelihood of harming nearby tissue
- Helps target tumors to sub-millimeter accuracy
- Features computerized robotic delivery and stereotactic localization imaging
- Requires an imaging series, which is transferred to computer, before treatment begins
- Used in conjunction with IMRT, 3DCRT and stereotactic radiotherapy
For more information, see Image-Guided Radiation Therapy on RadiologyInfo.org.
Radiosurgery does exactly what surgery does — except that it’s not done by cutting with a knife. It’s done with very focused beams of radiation under image guidance such that small tumors can be killed without damaging any surrounding normal tissue.
Scott & White’s Approach
Scott & White’s mission to provide personalized, comprehensive care is the foundation for our radiation therapy program.
Our approach at Scott & White is in individualizing therapy. “We calculate your dosage cloud so that it will look exactly like the shape of your tumor,” says Nitika Thawani, MD, Radiation Oncology; Director of the Stereotactic Radiation Program.
Our radiation oncologists take meticulous care in determining the precise radiation therapy protocol for you. Several factors impact their decision, including the type, location and stage of your specific tumor and your overall medical condition.
How Radiation Therapy Is Used to Treat Brain and Spinal Cord Tumors
Your physician may recommend radiation therapy for your brain and spinal cord tumors.
Radiation therapy is used in some cases:
- As the first line of treatment for some brain tumors.
- In conjunction with other treatments for brain or spinal cord tumors.
- For patients who are not good candidates for surgery.
- In conjunction with chemotherapy after surgery to help destroy any remaining cancer cells. This kind of radiation therapy is called adjuvant therapy.
- For palliation — or to ease the symptoms of metastatic brain or spinal cord cancer, such as bone pain
Stereotactic radiotherapy is often recommended for small tumors in the brain or spinal cord.
Types of Radiation Therapy
Scott & White offers the following types of radiation therapy to treat tumors of the brain and spinal cord:
- External-Beam Radiation Therapy
Side Effects of Radiation Therapy
Each radiation therapy approach is different and each person’s reaction to it can vary. At Scott & White, your radiation oncologist will see you through treatment and help you manage any side effects.
For general information about side effects, talk to your radiation oncologist.