About 75% of cancer patients will receive radiation therapy for the treatment of their cancer, either as a first treatment (50%) or as re-radiations (25%) in case of relapse of the disease. Therefore, precision in treatment is now the main objective of modern radiation therapy. Precision makes it possible to ” minimize the side effects of treatment and treatable complex tumors or patients in situations of fragility, such as older ones, or with other concurrent diseases. In this way we can offer healing treatments to patients up to now not treatable,” explains dr. Pedro Lara, the chief of the Service of Oncology of the University Hospitals in San Roque.
This precision allows ” to administer very high doses of radiation in each session, which makes it possible to pause fewer sessions and achieve better results,” the oncologist adds. “Radiosurgery takes advantage of high-precision and high-dose characteristics to become an ablative technique, capable of destroying the tumor, used in the treatment of metastases and primary tumors,” says Dr. Lara, who adds that Hospitales San Roque has “the only EXACTRAC system of BrainLab for high-precision radiosurgery in the Canary Islands. The system EXACTRAC is the most advanced in this type of equipment with regards to guidance system of the radiation treatment imaging (IGRT).
The linear accelerator, which releases the radiation guided by EXACTRAC, has a Robotics table of 6 degrees of freedom, which generates treatments of precision submillimeter. The positioning of patients is done by means of an infrared system that allows the patient to be placed exactly to receive treatment.
Radiosurgery treatments body (SBRT) is administered in a maximum of five sessions of outpatient, without the need for any type of anesthesia, therefore, “it is perceived by the patient as if it was submitted to a CT scan or other radiologic test common,” says dr. Lara. However, the expert continues, ” although their administration is perceived very favorably by the patient, the effectiveness is very high. Today we can talk about more than 80% tumor control in lesions treated with SBRT, whether metastases or primary tumors.
The combination of radiosurgery with the usual systemic treatments (chemotherapy, hormone therapy, immunotherapy) is a “very effective option for the metastatic patient, with the intention of chronicling their disease and prolonging their survival with an excellent quality of life. Today we have individualized treatment for each patient, “explains Dr. Lara, who warns that” no cancer treatment should be initiated without the opinion of a multidisciplinary group of oncology experts.
On the other hand, radiosurgery is the treatment of choice for brain metastases, which can be destroyed in a single session. The brain radiosurgery system of San Roque University Hospitals is the so-called Frameless, that is, “it does not need the patient’s surgical intervention, nor the fixing of cranial surgical screws to place the sterotoxic frame. The system is completely guided by infrared cameras, which allows us to locate the patient safely in relation to the treatment equipment. This precision in treatment requires a design of the area to be treated and a specific treatment plan. There is no need for great precision if the design is not equally accurate,” explains Dr. Lara.
At the oncology center of San Roque hospitals, we have a very advanced simulation and planning technology platform, such as the first 4D PET-TAC simulator in the Canary Islands or the integration of magnetic resonance in the design of treatments.
In addition, the excellent toxicity profile allows for combination with other treatments, without any side effects. “In this way radiosurgery is fully integrated into the individualized therapeutic itinerary that we design for each patient,” says the oncologist, “always agreed among the various specialists in a multidisciplinary way.”
Today, you can’t deal with the diagnosis and treatment of cancer in isolation, a single physician, a single specialty, but the combination of consensus of all the available techniques, is the only way to improve the current expectations in front of this disease. But along with the cancer treatments, we must not forget another important pillar of assistance to the patient with cancer: the accompaniment of the patient during the treatment, psychological support, nutritional, etc, is a key element of this project.