A specialized type of external beam radiation therapy called stereotactic radiation uses focused radiation beams targeting a well-defined tumor, relying on detailed imaging, computerized three-dimensional treatment planning and precise treatment set-up to deliver the radiation dose with extreme accuracy (i.e., stereotactically).
There are two types of stereotactic radiation:
SRS/SBRT is best for very small tumors. Doctors use specialized scans to pinpoint exactly where within the body the tumor target is located. A customized holder may be used to keep the body perfectly still during treatment, or the treatment machine may have the ability to adjust for patient motion such as during breathing. These techniques allow doctors to give a high dose of radiation to the tumor in a short amount of time. SRS/SBRT is a type of external beam radiation therapy that can be completed in one to five days rather than over several weeks.
The advantage of SRS/SBRT is it delivers the right amount of radiation to the cancer in a shorter amount of time than traditional treatments. Plus the treatment is delivered with extreme accuracy, minimizing the effect on nearby organs.