Giving Hope to Patients with Brain Tumors
Since May is Brain Tumor Awareness Month, our team at OHC wanted to continue to spread the word about a treatment for brain tumors that, while isn’t new, still isn’t well known.
Gamma knife is giving new hope to patients with brain tumors. In the past, surgeons would remove most of the tumor, but not all because that could involve removing or affecting a small part of the brain. Now the technology with gamma knife allows doctors to deliver radiation to a brain tumor to destroy the tumor cells while causing little or no radiation damage to the surrounding normal tissue.
Ironically, gamma knife is not a knife and involves no cutting. It involves precision and radiation.
“The precision is amazing,” says Peter R. Fried, MD, radiation oncologist with OHC. “We use 3D imaging to pinpoint the tumor. Then we come at it with low dose radiation from multiple sides of the head. When these multiple beams meet, the result is a highly targeted high dose of radiation right at the center of the tumor. It’s amazing.”
In addition to its accuracy, there are other benefits of gamma knife.
- It doesn’t require an incision so there are none of the risks associated with incisions and anesthesia.
- It requires only one treatment, and that usually takes 10-60 minutes depending on the individual case.
- It works. There is evidence that treatment of certain malignant brain tumors with gamma knife surgery can increase a patients’ lifespan.
“I wish my step-father was still with us because this could have extended his life and improved his quality of life,” said Lesia Golden whose step father endured two surgeries to remove a brain tumor commonly occurring in farmers. “I don’t know if this could have been an option for him, but it could have provided a glimpse of hope. At least it’s now available to others in the same situation.”
For more information about gamma knife and other treatments for brain tumor, click here. Dr. Fried performs gamma knife procedures at The Jewish Hospital – Mercy Health, home of the region’s only gamma knife.