Brain metastasis are spread of a primary tumor in the brain, which is different from a primary brain tumor. The spreading of a tumor is known as metastasis. The primary malignant brain tumor are the tumors which start in the brain and are actually quite rare. It is estimated that about 24,000 new cases in the year 2016. The brain metastases are quite common and it occurs in 10% to 30% of patients with cancer, each year in the United States.
It is important to remember that not all cancers are equal and some are more aggressive and less susceptible to treatments than others. Considering this reason, the prognosis varies greatly from tumor to tumor and person to person. Hence the best surgeons will consider these aspects while providing effective treatments.
Signs and symptoms
The common signs and symptoms are changes in the cognitive ability (memory, reasoning, attention), gait ataxia, aphasia, weakness, behavior changes, seizures and headaches.
If your healthcare professional suspects brain metastases, then your care team will ask you for radiology reports such as CT or MRI scans. A biopsy is required, especially in the case of primary cancer or if there has been a long period of time between the treatment for the initial primary cancer or if there has been a long period of time between the treatments for the initial primary cancer and the new symptoms related to brain metastases.
When might radiation therapy be used?
Small cell lung cancer is related to high to a very high risk brain metastasis and around 50% of patients develop lesions within two years of diagnosis. Radiation therapy is used for whole brain as a way to prevent future development of brain metastases. In terms of chemotherapy, the agents that are commonly used in chemotherapy are not able to cross the blood brain barrier. The medications are not able to penetrate into the brain and therefore it cannot effectively kill the cancer cells in the brain. Hence, most of the chemotherapy agents are not quite effective to treat the brain metastasis although they work well against cancer in parts of the body. Therefore, most patients undergo treatments for brain metastases, which include the surgical and radiation techniques.
How Does the gamma Knife System Treat Lung Cancer?
The stereotactic radiosurgery is not a surgery, but a highly precise administration of a large dose of radiation to the tumor site. Unlike the traditional external beam radiation, which is given daily for many weeks the SRS is administered in a single dose as a Gamma knife® system or up to five doses as a Cyberknife® and other treatments based on a linear accelerator. More than a single brain tumor can be treated during one session. The Gamma Knife treatments for lung cancer are administered using a traditional radiation machine called as a linear accelerator which is a specialized machine known as Cyberknife®, Gamma knife®, etc.
The Gamma knife® delivers several hundreds of radiation beams from a cobalt source. Cobalt is one of the elements present in the periodic table and it is the radioactive source which is used in this technique. These beams concentrate at the point where all the beams meet and they travel through hundreds of holes in the helmet to converge on the tumor thereby allows a high dose radiation delivery to the tumor by sparing the surrounding tissues from this high dose. It is highly dependent on accuracy and requires the patient’s head to be securely stabilized by using a head frame or a helmet so as to prevent any movement during this treatment. There is a size limit for Gamma knife® and hence the brain metastasis should be 3cm or smaller. Contact Dheeraj Bojwani Consultants in India to get a low cost gamma knife system for treating lung cancer.