Radiosurgery treatment for brain metastases reduces risk of memory loss and improves survival

December 9, 2013 Sandra S. Vermeulen, MD

When a person has metastatic cancer, the brain is one of the organs that cancer cells can migrate to. If this happens, the condition is called brain metastases. The brain metastases will have the same cancer cell type as the primary cancer, such as lung or breast cancer.

If this occurs, radiation treatment is often used to control these areas of disease. Research is finding that utilizing stereotactic radiosurgery as the initial treatment for people with four or less brain metastases is associated with improved survival and reduced risk of memory loss compared to whole brain radiation. Stereotactic radiosurgery is a very precise image guided treatment that uses multiple beams of radiation from a variety of directions to destroy the diseased area while avoiding the surrounding healthy tissue.

The two leading radiosurgery technologies (Gamma Knife and CyberKnife) are available here at the Swedish Radiosurgery Center in Seattle. Based on each patient’s unique situation, we determine which radiosurgery technique is optimal for his or her condition and treatment is completed in an outpatient setting in a single session or over the course of several days. To learn more about treating brain metastases with radiosurgery, click here. 

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