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Radiotherapy

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Radiotherapy

Radiation Therapy of Brain Tumors

About Brain Tumors 

There are two types of brain tumors: benign and malignant.
The origin of a primary tumor is in the brain. It can be benign (less likely to grow and/or invade a normal functioning brain) or malignant (likely to grow and/or invade a normal functioning brain). Primary brain or spinal cord tumors rarely spread to other organs.
A metastatic tumor is caused by cancer that has spread to the brain from somewhere else in the body. Brain tumors that have spread to the brain are always cancerous.

Treating Brain Tumors 

If doctors determine you have a brain tumor, your treatment options and prognosis will be determined by a number of factors, including tumor type, location, and size of the tumor, grade (how aggressive it appears), molecular characteristics of your tumor, your age, and your overall health. Surgery, radiation therapy, and/or medical therapy (chemotherapy) may be treatment options depending on these and other factors.
 

Radiation Therapy 

Radiation therapy, also known as radiotherapy, is the careful application of high-energy X-rays or particles to treat brain tumors in a safe and effective manner. Radiation works noninvasively within tumor cells by inhibiting their growth. Radiation may affect healthy cells near the tumor, but they can repair themselves in a way that tumor cells cannot. Radiation therapy can be used in addition to or instead of surgery in some cases.
 

External beam Radiation Therapy 

External beam radiation therapy is typically delivered as a series of outpatient treatments using a linear accelerator, or LINAC. Treatment X-rays, like chest X-rays, cannot be seen or felt, and the machine does not touch you. Treatments are usually given daily, five days a week, for three to seven weeks. You will be scheduled for a planning session before beginning treatment to map out your treatment area. This is referred to as a simulation. A CT scan is performed while lying on a table, usually with the assistance of a form-fitting mask, to ensure that treatment is delivered consistently. Based on the results of the simulation scan and other imaging studies you've had, including MRIs, your doctor will create an individualized treatment plan. Marks are made on the mask to assist the radiation therapist in positioning you precisely for daily treatment.
 

Stereotactic Radiosurgery / Radiotherapy

Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) and stereotactic radiotherapy (SRT) are two types of radiotherapy that are extremely precise. In some cases, your radiation oncologist or neurosurgeon may recommend stereotactic radiation in addition to regular radiation, on its own, or possibly instead of surgery. SRS/SRT may necessitate the use of a frame that attaches to the skull, whereas other systems permit the use of a tight-fitting mask. SRS/SRT has the advantage of delivering the total radiation dose (which can be higher than standard radiation) in one to five treatment sessions with very little radiation to the surrounding healthy tissue.

Caring for yourself during Treatment: