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Stereotactic Radiosurgery and Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy

An experienced radiation oncology team at Johns Hopkins specializes in stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) and stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT). Stereotactic radiosurgery can be used to treat certain cancers that affect children and teens as well as cancers that affect adults. 

Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy

Radiation oncologist Joe Herman discusses the use of stereotactic body radiation therapy to treat tumors. SBRT allows specific tumors to be targeted, limiting radiation to healthy tissue.

As part of a larger multi-disciplinary oncology team that consultatively diagnoses and treats cancer, our team of radiation oncology specialists, including physicians, medical physicists, dosimetrists, nurses, and therapists, creates an individualized radiation therapy plan developed for each patient’s specific needs.

The safety and well being of our patients and their families are always the primary concern of every member of the radiation oncology team. We have developed a comprehensive safety program that is unique to Johns Hopkins. As an international leader in radiation safety, our standards for safety serve as an example for other academic and community-based radiation practices. Our safety program not only complies with state and national protocols, it goes well beyond those protocols by integrating innovative safety techniques developed by experts on our staff.

Through our clinical research, we offer our patients the most effective and safest therapies available, in addition to clinical trials that patients can choose to participate in.

To find out more about radiation oncology at Johns Hopkins, call 410-502-8000 or e-mail hopkinsradonc@jhmi.edu.

Types of stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS)

A precise radiation treatment, stereotactic radiosurgery delivers high doses of radiation at the same time that it spares nearby tissues and organs. Despite its name, it is a non-surgical radiation therapy that can be used as an alternative to invasive surgery.

Stereotactic radiosurgery technology delivers radiation beams from different angles and planes. Before the treatment is delivered, the radiation oncologist and the team working with the doctor use three-dimensional imaging to determine the exact coordinates of the tumor. In some cases, they may also use image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT) to confirm the location of the tumor before and/or during the radiation treatment.

Its biggest benefits over conventional therapy are that:

  • It can treat very small tumors or those located in hard-to-reach places.
  • Treatment times are much shorter.

Though the treatment can often be completed in one day, the radiation oncologist may decide to do multiple treatments depending on the size of the tumor. Multiple treatments are called fractionated radiosurgery.

Different kinds of stereotactic radiosurgery may be used, depending on the type of cancer and where it is located in the body:

Stereotactic radiosurgery is used to treat brain and spinal cancers.

Stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) offers the same benefits as stereotactic radiosurgery and is used at Johns Hopkins to treat:

CyberKnife, a type of stereotactic body radiation therapy, uses a robotic arm to deliver radiation in a number of different ways and at and at different angles. At Johns Hopkins, it is used for cancers located in the brain and spine and the pancreas and liver.

Fractionated radiosurgery (FRS) uses the same technologies as other types of stereotactic radiosurgery treatments. However, the treatments are given over several days (usually between two to five treatments), using lower doses of radiation. The benefit of fractionated radiosurgery is that it does less harm to surrounding organs and nerves, allowing for treatment of larger tumors and those located in areas near critical organs or nerves. The radiation specialists at Johns Hopkins use FRS to treat cancers in the:

 

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