Radiosurgery or Surgery?
There is no need to be afraid of radiosurgery. Radiosurgery doesn’t involve cutting or drilling. In radiosurgery, tumor is eliminated by giving high-dose rays onto it. That’s why it’s called radiosurgery.
During radiosurgery, the patient does not feel pain. The whole treatment gives results after only a couple of weeks, which is a much shorter time period when compared with other treatment methods that last for months. In stereotaxic radiosurgery, a large number of beams are sent from different angles directly to the target. Healthy tissues in the surrounding area are protected. Initially, it is applied to tumors under 3 cm. It has also become applicable to nearby tumors. For malignant tumors, the process was used to be completed in one session as much as possible; it was increased to three sessions when it was understood that radiotherapy also had an immunological effect and that this was caused mainly by fractionated radiosurgery not just one single dose.
Radiosurgery was previously applied to tumors that were located around critical organs or in areas that were difficult to surgically remove. Studies over time showed that it gave successful results in many other locations in the body as well. Today, radiosurgery can be easily applied to almost any tumor in any part of the body, especially in the lung, prostate, pancreas, and liver.
Advantages of Radiosurgery
The advantage of radiosurgery is that it is a very simple procedure for the patient, yet it gives the same result as the regular surgery. Each treatment ends with the patient lying on the treatment device for about half an hour without moving. In the treatment of organs in the chest or abdomen, such as the lungs, the patient needs to hold their breath at certain intervals. While this allows us to better focus on the tumor, it also reduces the margins of safety we have to avoid missing the displaced tumor during breathing. Therefore, while the accuracy of our work increases, the damage we can do to normal tissue becomes minimal.
Unlike other surgical or chemotherapy processes, radiosurgery does not suppress the immune system. Recent studies show us that radiotherapy, and especially radiosurgery, activates the immune system. Released cytokines and activated pathways mediate this effect.
When you are diagnosed with cancer, make sure to get the opinion of a radiation oncologist, medical oncologist, and a surgery doctor before starting the treatment. Radiosurgery applications started with Gamaknife in the 1960s, and later began to be applied to linear accelerators after the 1980s. Because it started with Gamaknife, there is a perception that radiosurgery is performed only with Gamaknife, however, similar dose distributions can be applied efficiently in devices such as linac-based, cyberknife, or tomotherapy.