Stereotactic radiation therapy is most commonly used to treat secondary tumours in the brain. Stereotactic radiation therapy is also used to treat some benign (non-cancerous) tumours such as meningiomas, pituitary adenomas and acoustic neuromas as well as some blood vessel conditions such as arteriovenous malformations.
Stereotactic radiation therapy for the brain will involve the making of a customised mask that will be used during treatment to ensure the patient’s head does not move during treatment allowing the machine to precisely target the tumour.
Compared to traditional radiation therapy for metastatic disease to the brain which involves treating the entire brain, stereotactic radiation therapy only targets the individual metastatic tumours with high doses. This provides less radiation to healthy brain tissue, reduces the chance of adverse intellectual function, reduces the impact of side effects (e.g. hair loss and headaches) providing improved quality of life for patients.
There are state-of-the-art technologies which can deliver treatment to multiple brain tumours at one time. This reduces the need to treat multiple tumours separately, resulting in a much shorter treatment time for patients. Listed below are two examples of software used to help deliver this treatment. Other technologies may be used to treat multiple tumours, depending on the location of your treatment centre, but the software all work to achieve the best possible outcomes for patients.
HyperArc is the latest technological advancement from Varian Medical Systems. It provides an end-to-end solution for multiple intra-cranial targets. The software seamlessly connects with the Varian TrueBeam linear accelerator (the machine that delivers radiation therapy) and allows for automated planning and the ability to accurately target multiple tumours while ensuring limited doses of radiation to surrounding healthy brain tissue.
Unlike some systems that require multiple setup points, HyperArc is able to deliver treatment to all targeted brain tumours using the one setup point. This means less setup on the bed for the patient and quicker treatment times.