Brain tumors are generally classified as Primary or Metastatic Brain Tumors. Primary brain tumors are cancers that originate in the brain. Metastatic brain tumors start in another part of the body and spread to the brain. Regardless of the type, brain tumors can be devastating. They disrupt thought, memory, function and sensation. Surgery and radiation are the primary treatment options for brain tumors with chemotherapy playing a significant role for certain types of tumors.
For many primary brain tumors, surgery is required as part of the treatment. A neurosurgeon will attempt to remove the entire tumor if it is safe to do so. Radiation treatments are often recommended after surgery to reduce the chances of the tumor coming back or slowing down growth if surgery cannot be performed.
For metastatic tumors, surgery or radiation is used. In many cases, we will utilize the CyberKnife to deliver a high dose of radiation to multiple small tumors. This technique is called stereotactic radiosurgery. This is the preferred method of treating metastatic lesions with radiation. In certain cases, radiosurgery cannot be performed and the whole brain will need to be treated. This is called Whole Brain Radiation Therapy (WBRT).
How Does CyberKnife Treat Brain Tumors?
The CyberKnife SRS system improves on other radiosurgery techniques by eliminating the need for a fixed metal head frame attached with screws to the patient’s head. A mesh mask is worn during treatment instead. The CyberKnife is composed of a linear accelerator mounted on a robotic arm. The highly maneuverable, precise delivery system enables doctors to achieve an exceptional level of accuracy in a non-invasive manner. CyberKnife is an outpatient treatment performed in one to five treatment visits with minimal to no side effects. During the CyberKnife treatment, hundreds of highly concentrated and incredibly precise beams of radiation are targeted directly to tumors and lesions in the brain. After treatment, most patients resume their normal activities.