Navigating Metastatic Brain Cancer With Austin CyberKnife

Studio 512

Dr. Ghafoori and Dr. Bobustuc joined Rosie this morning to discuss brain tumors, specifically metastatic brain cancer, how it is treated with the CyberKnife® RoboticRadiosurgery System, and the benefit of radiation oncologists, neuro-oncologists, and neurosurgeons working together.

May is National Brain Tumor Awareness Month.  What are brain tumors and are there differenttypes?

-A brain tumor is an abnormal growth of tissue in the brain or central spine that can disrupt proper brain function.

-Physicians refer to a tumor based on where the tumor cells originated and whether they are most aggressive (malignant) or least aggressive (benign).

-There are over 120 different types of brain tumors, many with their own multitude of subtypes.  Some brain tumors, such as a glioblastoma multiforme, are malignant and may be fast-growing.  Other types of brain tumors, such as meningioma, may be slow-growing and benign.

 What are some differences between benign and malignant brain tumors?

-The least aggressive type of brain tumor is often called a benign brain tumor.  Benign brain tumors originate from cells within or surrounding the brain, do not contain cancer cells, grow slowly, and typically have clear borders that do not spread into other tissue.  Even though benign tumors rarely develop into metastatic (cancerous or spreading) tumors, they can be life-threatening because they can compress brain tissue and other structures inside the skull. 

-Malignant brain tumors contain cancer cells and often do not have clear borders. They are considered to be life-threatening because they grow rapidly and invade surrounding brain tissue.  Tumors that start in cells of the brain are called primary brain tumors. Primary brain tumors may spread to other parts of the brain or to the spine, but rarely to other organs.

What about metastatic cancer? 

-Metastatic cancer is cancer that has spread from the place where it first started to another place in the body.  If the cells travel through the lymph system, they may end up in nearby lymph nodes or they may spread to other organs. More often, cancer cells that break off from the main tumor travel through the bloodstream. Once in the blood, they can go to any part of the body.

-Metastatic or secondary brain tumors begin in another part of the body and then spread to the brain.  Metastatic tumors are more common than primary brain tumors and are named by the location in which they begin.

What are the most common areas cancer cells spread to? 

-For metastatic cancer, the most common areas are the brain, lung, liver, and bone.

What are some signs and symptoms of brain tumors?

-Brain tumor symptoms can vary according to tumor type and location.

Symptoms can include:

– Recurrent headaches
– Issues with vision and/or hearing
– Seizures
– Changes in personality
– Short-term memory loss
– Poor coordination
– Facial paralysis
– Difficulty speaking or comprehending

Brain tumors are often treated by the theCyberKnife® Robotic Radiosurgery System at Austin CyberKnife.  What is CyberKnife?

-CyberKnife is a painless, non-invasive alternative to surgery for the treatment of both cancerous and noncancerous tumors anywhere in the body.  The treatment delivers beams of high dose radiation to tumors with extreme precision and features a device that controls the width of the radiation beams the machine delivers during treatment, allowing clinical experts to vary the beam size and treat a larger variety of tumors throughout the body.

How does CyberKnife treat brain tumors and is it effective? 

-The CyberKnife System pinpoints the tumor’s exact location in real-time using images taken during the treatment that references the unique bony structures of a patient’s head while correcting for small head movements.  High-dose radiation is delivered directly to the tumor, ablating the cells of the tumor while minimizing radiation exposure to critical areas in the brain and spine. 

-Numerous clinical studies have shown that CyberKnife is an effective treatment option for brain cancer and noncancerous brain tumors while carrying an extremely low likelihood of negative side effects.  CyberKnife’s ability to treat tumors and lesions at an extremely precise level makes it an alternative treatment to surgery and conventional radiation therapy for patients with complex tumors and for patients seeking non-invasive ways to treat their tumors or lesions.

Is CyberKnife used a lot for treating recurrent and metastatic brain tumors? 

-Yes, at Austin CyberKnife, we see a lot of recurrent tumors in the brain treated with CyberKnife.

-Also, when dealing with brain tumors, some people think that a patient can have CyberKnife treatment after having whole-brain radiotherapy on a LINAC, when in fact, we can do some CyberKnife treatment for brain tumors even if the patient has had previous whole-brain radiotherapy.

What are the benefits of using cyberknife for the treatment of brain tumors?

-There are numerous benefits of CyberKnife treatment, including:
– Outpatient procedure, no anesthesia or hospitalization required
– Five or fewer treatment sessions
– Noninvasive, no incisions needed
– Typically pain-free treatment
– Reaches brain tumors from virtually unlimited directions with robotic mobility
– Targets individual brain tumors with pinpoint accuracy
– Enables clinicians to maximize and conform the dose to the brain tumor
– Minimal radiation exposure to healthy tissue surrounding the brain tumor
– Little to no recovery time and almost immediate return to your normal daily activities
– Minimal, if any, side effects due to pinpoint precision of high-dose radiation delivery

When it comes to treating brain tumors, what is the benefit of radiation oncologists, neuro-oncologists, and neurosurgeons collaborating together? 

-Having physicians work together increases the expertise, quality, and safety of the care and treatment being given to the patient.  Collaborative efforts benefit patient care.

-Broadening the awareness of CyberKnife as a treatment option for those with brain tumors who choose not to undergo surgery, or who are not good surgical candidates due to age, health, or other reasons. It benefits that patient because it lets them know there is another treatment option while keeping their current neurosurgeon, who they know and trust, involved in their case.

Sponsored by Austin CyberKnife. Opinions expressed by the guest(s) on this program are solely those of the guest(s) and are not endorsed by this television station.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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