Radiation therapy is one of the triad of treatments for cancer, along with surgery and drug therapy. Radiation is used to destroy or shrink tumors. Today, new treatment technologies are making their mark.
“What this is, is a way of delivering radiation therapy in a highly condensed, very pinpoint fashion,” says Dr. Constantine Mantz, radiation oncologist on Lee Memorial Health System’s medical staff.
Stereotactic body radiation therapy allows doctors to give fewer, ultra-high doses. For many people, it is a game-changer.
“It gives us an opportunity to sterilize tumors and cure patients who otherwise would have inoperable cancers or cancers that could not be treated effectively any other way,” says Dr. Mantz.
This particular machine couples precise radiation with built-in guidance technology, which minimizes exposure to surrounding tissue and organs.
“The treatment machine, in addition to being able to deliver the radiation therapy, has the capability of generating an x-ray or a CAT scan of the part of the body that we want to treat,” says Dr. Mantz.
The technology was created for brain tumors, which tend to be localized. Once the beam was aimed, it stayed fixed. The addition of real-time guidance opened up new possibilities for tumors in other places of the body, which are prone to natural movements.
“What has been the clever advance in this technology is the ability to monitor that movement and to track it and to make adjustments to it. So that you have some greater assurance that the beam is following the movement of that tumor and hitting it continuously,” says Dr. Mantz.
The use of SBRT to treat gynecological cancers was pioneered locally. The pinpoint precision puts it on target to offer better, more innovative cancer solutions.