External beam radiation therapy
External beam radiation therapy is radiation delivered from outside the body and directed at your cancer site in the brain or spine.
External beam radiation therapy is a very common treatment option, and many people with cancer have it. It’s painless, and you don’t see or feel the actual treatment. In most cases, you’ll be able to continue with your daily routine after each treatment.
How does external beam radiation therapy work?
Depending upon the treatment location, different energies of radiation are used.
- Low-energy radiation doesn’t penetrate deeply into the body, and it’s mainly used to treat surface sites (particularly on or just under the skin)
- High-energy radiation is used to treat deeper cancer sites
Stereotactic radiation therapy
Stereotactic radiation therapy involves focusing radiation beams on a small area, delivering very high doses.
Beams are directed at the cancer site from many different directions. This method delivers the ideal amount of radiation needed to destroy the cancer cells – and, it minimises exposure to the surrounding areas.
Stereotactic radiation therapy is very effective in treating small tumours.
Developed in 1968 by Swedish professors Lars Leksell and Borge Larsson, the gamma knife is a very advanced instrument.
The gamma knife treats arteriovenous malformations (AVM), facial pain, benign and malignant brain tumours, and other functional brain disorders.
How does the gamma knife work?
The gamma knife uses a concentrated dose of radiation on a targeted area of abnormal tissue within the brain. It’s extremely precise, and is able to destroy cancerous cells without damaging the healthy tissue nearby.