New radiation treatment provides fewer side effects

Cancer patients at St. Elizabeth have a better option for more targeted, more efficient radiation treatment through the Edge radiosurgery system.

The Edge advanced linear accelerator doesn’t require surgery at all. Instead, it delivers a targeted, intense beam of radiation directly into cancerous tumors in a non-invasive procedure. The treatment is able to kill cancer cells while limiting radiation to surrounding normal structures, said St. Elizabeth Radiation Oncologist Dr. Lauren Castellini.

“Radiation damages the DNA of the cancer cells. Cancer cells do not have the ability to repair the DNA damage, and so they die. Normal cells have repair mechanisms and are able to fix the damage from the radiation and recover,” she explained. The Edge specifically delivers an even less radiation dose to normal cells resulting in less side effects.

 

The linear accelerator can help treat cancers commonly treated by radiation, including:

  • breast
  • lung
  • prostate
  • bladder
  • esophageal
  • head and neck
  • sarcomas
  • lymphomas
  • gynecologic
  • pancreatic and more

 

There are several benefits to the Edge radiosurgery treatment. The precision and accuracy of the beam kills cancer cells while better preserving normal cells and nearby organs. This results in fewer side effects and safer treatment. Treatment can also be delivered more quickly than in the past.

Some patients with inoperable cancers can receive better results, Dr. Castellini said.

“Historically, patients with early stage lung cancer, who are not operable, were treated with radiation alone or chemoradiation. The results were not great. Now with the use of stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT) we are able to deliver very high doses of radiation resulting in 85-95 percent chance of local control of early stage lung cancer. The Edge, in particular, is designed to do SBRT very well,” she said.

Radiotherapy, specifically SBRT, may not be for everyone, but is an option for many cancer patients. For more information on cancer care at St. Elizabeth, please contact us today.