Gynecologic Cancer: Conformal Radiosurgery Offers Hope
Gynecologic oncologists deliver radiation using sophisticated computerized imaging guidance systems and robotics to treat cancers once considered unbeatable.
Gynecologic cancers were among the first malignancies treated with ionizing radiation more than a century ago. Today, gynecologic oncologists deliver radiation using sophisticated computerized imaging guidance systems and robotics to offer hope to patients with otherwise untreatable cancers. Stereotactic body radiotherapy is one form of radiosurgery that is proving highly effective in treating gynecologic tumors. Studies by gynecologic oncologist Robert DeBernardo, MD, Director of Minimally Invasive Surgery in Cleveland Clinic’s Ob/Gyn & Women’s Health Institute, show that the technology can shrink, halt the growth of, or completely eliminate 96 percent of targeted lesions in advanced and recurrent gynecologic cancers. “Since the radiation is so highly conformal, we eliminate a lot of the toxicity normally associated with it and can increase the dosage — the tumors don’t stand much of a chance,” notes Dr. DeBernardo. He says that stereotactic body radiotherapy is an option for women with:
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Besides stereotactic body radiotherapy, Dr. DeBernardo says there are other specialized radiosurgery technologies that can be used for recurrent and hard-to-treat gynecologic cancers. Radiosurgery, or radiation therapy, can be given in one dose or fractionated into multiple doses and then modified by intensity via the following technologies:
The Novalis TX radiosurgery system, a type of IGRT, shapes radiation with pinpoint accuracy using high-definition collimation to spare surrounding tissues while targeting metastases close to critical areas. This technology delivers ultrafast radiation, allowing for shorter treatment times, fewer visits and decreased side effects in the treatment of brain, spine, liver and lung cancers, as well as hard-to-treat gynecologic tumors.
“Computers, excellent image guidance and robotics give us the ability to offer highly conformal radiation therapy,” says Dr. DeBernardo. “This makes it easier to direct radiation therapy to a very specific target.” As treatment for gynecologic cancers improves, he is seeing more unusual tumor recurrences, such as those next to a kidney, liver or lung. In such cases, says Dr. DeBernardo, radiosurgery allows patients to avoid significant operative morbidity.