Section: Highlights

The Next Evolution in Radiotherapy

10/05/2018
The Next Evolution in Radiotherapy

After listening to Leonard Farber, MD, carefully outline the treatment options, the 59-year-old patient didn’t hesitate: he wanted his mid-stage prostate cancer gone quickly and with as little disruption as possible to his busy life.

Instead of surgery or traditional radiotherapy—typically requiring 45 sessions over two months—the patient chose a leading-edge, high-dose radiation therapy called stereotactic body radiation therapy or SBRT.

Requiring just five sessions over one week, the short-course, non-invasive treatment for prostate cancer is available at only a handful of medical centers in Southern California—and is one of the radiotherapy techniques in which Dr. Farber brings extensive experience.

“SBRT is emerging as an exciting treatment option that represents the next evolution in radiotherapy,” explains Dr. Farber, a board-certified radiation oncologist who left Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York to join the St. Jude Jordan Family Radiation Oncology Center. “Advances in technology are creating improvements in accuracy, allowing us to take advantage of the tumor’s biology and its responsiveness to more concentrated doses of radiation.”

For men facing prostate cancer treatment, SBRT is now bringing the same advantages it has to other cancers: the convenience of five treatment sessions, each taking only minutes, all as an outpatient—no hospital stays, general anesthesia or wearing a catheter. Most importantly, studies show SBRT therapy offers the same five-year cancer control rates seen with conventional treatment options.

SBRT uses state-of-the-art image guidance and RapidArc technology to deliver higher radiotherapy doses with unprecedented accuracy. This translates into better cure rates and fewer side effects. The precision of image guidance allows the radiation to be shaped to fit and surround the prostate gland, sparing much of the surrounding tissues and organs from unnecessary exposure.

“While more long-term data is needed, it is very possible that SBRT could offer higher cure rates, especially for moderate and high-risk cancers,” explains Dr. Farber.

Dr. Farber, who also offers expertise in SBRT for brain, spine, lung, and breast cancers, as well as high-dose brachytherapy for skin, breast and gynecological tumors, says SBRT is often so well-tolerated by patients it doesn’t disrupt daily activities. “I’ve had professional athletes go straight from therapy to training sessions,” he explains. “We never stop working toward achieving the best outcomes with the fewest side effects.”

To make an appointment or to learn more about SBRT, please call St. Jude Jordan Family Radiation Oncology Center at (714) 446-5632.

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