Radiosurgery Pinpoints Spinal Tumors

Imaging method delivers precise dose of radiation without damaging healthy tissue

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WEDNESDAY, April 2, 2003 (HealthDayNews) -- Image-guided, shaped-beam radiosurgery can precisely target and deliver radiation to irregularly shaped spinal metastatic tumors.

A study in the April 15 issue of Cancer found this new, noninvasive technique delivers therapeutic levels of radiation to tumors with less damage to nearby healthy tissue, including the spinal cord.

Conventional radiation therapy irradiates the tumor and a large amount of surrounding healthy tissue.

Because this method is noninvasive, there are fewer potential complications and most of the people in the study had rapid relief from pain and neurological symptoms, the study says.

The researchers evaluated the technique in 10 people with spinal metastasis. None of them had acute radiation toxicity events up to six months after treatment. Most of the people experienced pain relief within four weeks of having the treatment.

"The use of intensity-modulated radiation with a precise beam-shaping technique and noninvasive positioning devices makes radiosurgery possible for the treatment of patients with spinal metastasis, and spinal radiosurgery has the potential to improve the clinical outcome of these patients," the study authors write.

More information

Here's where you can learn more about radiation therapy.

SOURCE: Cancer, news release, April 1, 2003

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