Stereotactic Radiotherapy (SRS)

Written by: Dr. Heinzerling

Stereotactic radiotherapy is a specialized technique utilizing external beam radiation to precisely focus beams of radiation to destroy certain types of smaller tumors in the brain and other organs including the lung, spine, liver, kidney, and bone. Since the treatment is so precise, your radiation oncologist may be able to better spare surrounding normal tissues than with conventional external beam therapy. This additional precision is achieved through rigid immobilization, such as with a head frame as is used in the treatment of brain tumors or a body frame for tumors outside of the brain, as well as specialized techniques utilized for your radiation plan. In addition, because such accuracy is obtained with this technology, most treatment courses are between 1 and 5 treatments, and results for control of different tumors have been excellent in many published studies. For many tumor types, the rate of long term control of cancer treated with radiosurgery may be equivalent to surgical resection in many cases, making this treatment an exciting alternative to invasive procedures. Stereotactic radiotherapy may be option for your cancer depending on the size, stage, and location of your disease.

Southeast Radiation Oncology Group, P.A. offers this specialized treatment at several of its centers including Carolinas Medical CenterCharlotte and Northeast, Presbyterian Hospital, Caromont RegionalMedical Center, Rock HillRadiation Therapy Center, and Frye Regional Medical Center. Our group of physicians was one of the earliest adopters of this technology,leading to a unique expertise and experience given the highly specific training of many of our physicians:

Dr. Stuart Burri has helped develop andlead the brain and body radiosurgery program at the Levine CancerInstitute at Carolinas Medical Center, making it one of the highest volume radiosurgery centers in North Carolina. In addition, Dr. Burrihas helped enroll many of the patients on early trials looking at radiosurgery for treatment of brain, lung, and liver metastases leading to multiple publications. He continues to lead new clinical trial investigations in the role of radiosurgery in treatment of brain metastases.

Recently, the physician team at Carolinas Medical Center added Dr. Hadley Sharp, who received her training and mentorship at MD Anderson under Dr. Eric Chang, and has herself become a national expert on spine radiosurgery for the treatment of spine metastases, which can lead to better tumor and pain control than standard radiation.

Drs. Vipul Thakkar and Rob McCammon have developed the radiosurgery program at Rock Hill Radiation Therapy Center and represent two of our most highly trained physicians in treatment with radiosurgery. Dr. Thakkar completed a fellowship at the Cleveland clinic specifically
receiving training in brain and body radiosurgery leading to distinctive proficiency in this specialized treatment. Dr. McCammon completed residency at one of the leading centers in the country for research in body radiosurgery, and is a featured author on manuscripts for radiosurgery for early stage lung cancer.

Drs. Scott Lankford and Jerome Butler have both completed specialized training in Cyberknife radiosurgery and head this program at Carolinas Medical Center Northeast. Cyberknifre technology has been one of the pioneers of specialized radiation delivery and allows precision treatment and unique therapy features such as tumor tracking as well as treatment of prostate cancer.

Dr. John Heinzerling completed his training and research under his mentor, Dr. Robert Timmerman, who has been the nation’s leader in body radiosurgery. Dr. Heinzerling has participated and helped write many national trials, been a featured author on several publications, and is an ongoing author for treatment guidelines for radiosurgery for treatment of primary lung tumors and lung metastases.

Specialized treatment requires specialized expertise, and as you can see above, Southeast Radiation Oncology represents one of the most experienced groups in the country to offer this highly exciting technology, allowing us to treat nearly 300 patients per year with this specialized technique. If you have questions about your cancer and possible treatment with radiosurgery, please call our number above.