Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT): What Is It and How Does It Work?

Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT): What Is It and How Does It Work?

Although cancer still terrifies a lot of people nowadays, it’s a fact that over half of all types of cancers are preventable. However, cancer overall remains the second-leading cause of death worldwide, while the number one cause is represented by heart disease.

It’s time to learn a bit about Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy, thanks to the official website of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center ( We’re talking about a specific cancer treatment, which is abbreviated as SSBRT and can deliver extremely precise and very intense doses of radiation that target the patient’s cancer cells. At the same time, the procedure minimizes damage to the healthy tissue.

It is possible for SBRT to pinpoint the exact three-dimensional location of a patient’s tumor due to the use of sophisticated image guidance so that the radiation can be delivered more precisely to cancer cells.

Patients and other people interested in medicine in general and in cancer in particular have all sorts of questions regarding the use of Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy. The same website mentioned above tells us more about such questions and the right answers to them, so feel free to keep on reading!

What cancers can be treated using the SBRT technique?

The use of SBRT is usually targeted at small and early-stage lung and pancreatic cancer or even cancers that have spread their terrifying influence to the patient’s lung, liver, spine, or adrenal gland.

It’s also a fact that lung cancer is the leading cause of death related to cancer worldwide. This disease accounts for the highest mortality rates among both genders. As you’ve probably already guessed, the leading cause of lung cancer remains smoking, as the habit is responsible for about 85% of the cases.

How does SBRT work?

Devices known as linea accelerators are responsible for delivering the SBRT technique. Beams of fast subatomic particles are formed to make the procedure work. A computerized system can be used to shape the radiation beams to match a 3D outline of a patient’s tumor. An MRI scan is able to generate the outline. The radiation oncologist will have to collaborate with medical physicists to design a treatment plan that allows the provision of radiation that will conform to the dimensions of the patient’s tumor.

The patient needs to lie on a table for the SBRT technique to be performed, and he will be awake. The procedure will last for at least 30 minutes and for a maximum of an hour. The imaging technology existing on the linear accelerator will help ensure that the patient is in the same position for all sessions and that the target area won’t change during the treatment.

What are the benefits?

Compared to conventional radiation, SBRT can generally be provided in several daily sessions. The amount of time needed for SBRT is significantly shorter than in the case of conventional radiation. The patient might even be in danger of having its conventional radiation interfering with chemotherapy. Furthermore, the use of SBRT doesn’t even require anesthesia.

It also needs to be mentioned that by comparison with conventional radiation therapy, SBRT is more advanced and efficient, and it leads to fewer side effects.

Did you know that the word ‘cancer’ comes from the Latin word for ‘crab’? Yes, just like the zodiac sign! Ancient Egyptians were the first people who described the cancer disease.

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