The treatment options available vary according to the specific cancer and its location. In general, the treatments can be divided into the following categories:
A) Radiosurgery: Radiosurgery, also known as stereotactic radiosurgery, is a form of radiation and despite its name, is not surgery. It is designed to precisely destroy a tumor or lesion by delivering a very high dose of radiation to the tumor in 1 to 5 treatments over a treatment course of 1 to 5 days. Patients are not required to be hospitalized during treatment and the procedure is almost always performed on an outpatient basis.
B) Radiation therapy: Radiation therapy is a form of radiation that is usually delivered 5 days a week over a treatment course of 6 to 8 weeks. Radiation therapy, (as opposed to stereotactic radiosurgery), usually treats larger areas that include not only the tumor, but large amounts of healthy tissue, increasing the risk of possible complications. Patients are not required to be hospitalized during treatment and the procedure is almost always performed on an outpatient basis.
C) Brachytherapy: Brachytherapy is a specialized form of radiation therapy that requires the surgical placement of small radioactive sources in and around a tumor. The radioactive sources can be implanted either temporarily or permanently, depending on the nature of the source used. Low dose rate brachytherapy (LDR) delivers a prescribed dose over a longer period of time. Radioactive sources are usually implanted permanently. High dose rate brachytherapy (HDR) uses a different source type that delivers dose over a shorter period of time, therefore HDR sources are usually implanted temporarily. Brachytherapy has been used to treat a wide variety of cancers including prostate, breast, lung, head and neck cancers.
D) Cryoablation: With Cyroablation, which is also called cryotherapy, a probe is inserted through the skin and into the tumor to freeze the tumor and kill its cells. Placement of the probe requires an incision and can be performed either on an inpatient or outpatient basis depending on the tumor being treated.
E) High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU): HIFU uses a focused ultrasound beam to kill tissue containing cancer cells. It is not FDA approved in the United States, but has been used to treat prostate cancer in Europe.
F) Surgery: Surgery or surgical resection is an invasive procedure that requires an incision to remove or cut the tumor out of the body. Surgery can be performed on an inpatient or outpatient basis depending on the tumor being treated. Because of the invasiveness of some types of surgery, some patients may be excluded from receiving this type of treatment.Back to top