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Radiation Therapy & Radiosurgery

Overview of Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy is the practice of using precisely aimed radiation beams to destroy tumors and lesions in the body.

Radiation therapy and radiosurgery do not remove the tumor or lesion. Instead, they damage the DNA of the tumor cells. The cells then lose their ability to reproduce and eventually die.

In lesions such as arteriovenous malformations (AVM), a tangle of blood vessels in the brain, radiation therapy can cause the blood vessels to thicken and close off.

Gamma Knife and Cyberknife are the most commonly used radiosurgery systems at Barrow.

What is radiation therapy used for?

At Barrow, radiation therapy is primarily used to treat the following:

  • Brain tumors
  • Tumors of the head and spine
  • Arteriovenous malformations (AVM)
  • Trigeminal neuralgia
  • Acoustic neuroma

Am I a good candidate for radiation therapy?

You may be a good candidate for radiation therapy and radiosurgery if you have a brain or spinal tumor that is known to respond well to radiation therapy.

For some cancerous tumors, radiosurgery may be used after conventional open surgery to destroy any cancer cells that were left behind.

If you have an arteriovenous malformation (AVM), you may be a candidate for radiosurgery. However, results from radiosurgery for AVMs can take time. The AVM may be at risk for bleeding during this time.

Information and Resources

U.S. National Library of Medicine – Gamma Knife
U.S. National Library of Medicine – Cyberknife