Radiation Therapy for Brain Tumor
There are many different applications for radiation in the treatment of brain cancer. Radiation is often given to kill residual cancer cells following surgery, and it’s used to definitively treat tumors that cannot be surgically removed, as well as to treat those that have spread to the brain from other parts of the body (metastatic brain tumors). In addition, radiation may be given prophylactically, that is, to prevent metastatic brain tumors from developing, in patients with a high risk.
UT Southwestern physicians are among the country’s most innovative and experienced practitioners of stereotactic radiotherapy. One such treatment uses the Gamma Knife, a radiosurgical tool designed specifically to treat brain tumors and arteriovenous malformations in the brain. Using the latest generation of this machine, our radiation oncologists partner with neuro- and skull base surgeons to treat a variety of benign and malignant lesions in a single session with curative results.
Similarly, our practitioners’ experience with the CyberKnife is one of the longest in the world. The device is used for multiple-treatment regimens, which are often called for when the tumor is larger or abutting an important structure like the optic nerve.
For patients who are not candidates for stereotactic radiotherapy, options range from intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), which closely molds the dose to the targeted tumor’s shape, to whole-brain radiation. Techniques developed at UT Southwestern allow physicians to offer brain radiotherapy in a way that simultaneously targets the tumor while avoiding important higher cognitive centers in the brain in order to better preserve mental function after treatment.