Cutting Out Cancer without a Knife: June 22, 2014

It is a relatively new way to attack brain cancer - cutting to its very core without surgery.

“We will use specifically this stereotactic radiotherapy to treat challenging, difficult tumors in the brain. Tumors that otherwise wrap themselves around critical structures that we want to avoid. Whereas in the recent years past we just could not offer an effective or safe treatment,” says Dr. Constantine Mantz, a radiation oncologist on staff of Lee Memorial Health System.

Brain tumors present several challenges - taking up space in precious real estate, many times it’s tough for surgeons to access or remove it all - which is where stereotactic radiation comes in. A knifeless technique; a single dose of high-energy radiation targets the tumor from different angles.

“We can deliver just an incredibly effective amount of radiation. And just a tiny fraction of an inch away from that tumor, those structures receive little to no exposure,” says Dr. Mantz.

This super-charged technology can also be aimed at cancerous tumors in other parts of the body, including the liver and lung - areas which are difficult because tumors move when patients breathe.

“The equipment is flexible enough to deliver that very precise dose of radiation and to be able to control when the beam is actually being delivered, so that it’s synchronized to the location of the tumor as the patient breathes,” says Dr. Mantz.

Because it doesn’t involve cutting, stereotactic radiotherapy has fewer complications than traditional surgery and a quicker recovery.