Spot Treatment: Pinpointing Tumors with Stereotactic Radiosurgery



If you haven’t seen the scans, if you’ve never felt a lump on your breast, if you’ve haven’t had to fight for your life, if you don’t have cancer, a tumor is a hard thing to comprehend.

Its size, where it is, the fact that it could have been there for months or even years without your knowledge, is difficult to wrap your mind around. But at Sanford Health Fargo’s Roger Maris Cancer Center, the expert team of physicians is pinpointing these tumors and treating them with exact precision.

Depending on the characteristics and location of the tumor, doctors have many treatment options and combinations of treatments to offer patients. These include surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy , either singularly or in a combination.

There are different forms of radiation treatment. One form of radiation is known as stereotactic radiosurgery. For patients who are eligible, it allows doctors to focus the radiation directly at the tumor.

“We can treat a specific spot,” says Ethan Foster, MD, and radiation oncologist at RMCC. “We are accurate within one millimeter of our target.”

This accuracy can pay off big for patients. Instead of multiple treatments and trips to the hospital, most patients only require one session. The radiation level is so high and the concentration is so focused that it does what use to take months in less than an hour.

“In a lot of cases, we only do one session,” says Dr. Foster. “It takes about 30 to 40 minutes and then they are out the door.”

With patients having to undergo so few treatments, the benefit is more than just fewer trips to the hospital. Less treatment means less exposure to radiation and less chance for the occurrence of side effects.

“Before, if someone had brain cancer, we would have to use radiation on the entire brain,” says Dr. Foster. “But with stereotactic radiosurgery, we just use radiation on that one section of the brain, right where the tumor is. We can spare all of that healthy tissue. It can really improve the quality of life for a patient.”

Posted Date: May 2014

Spot Treatment: Pinpointing Tumors with Stereotactic Radiosurgery

Stereotactic radiosurgery allows physicians to target tumors with a one-time high dose of radiation. This means fewer trips to the hospital and fewer side effects.