Approximately 71,500 women in the United States are diagnosed with a gynecologic cancer each year, as stated by the Centers for Disease Control. Researchers from University Hospitals Case Medical Center have developed a more effective way to treat gynecologic cancers, shortening radiation treatment time from five weeks to three days. The method will be published in the Journal of Visualized Experiments (JoVE) on April 17.
The new method, stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT) has been used on other types of cancer, but Case Medical Center is the first treatment facility to apply it to gynecologic cancers. Dr. Charles Kunos, who co-authored the article, said the radiation therapy machine "looks like a robot you would make cars with, and targets specific cancer cells."
Unlike traditional radiation therapy, SBRT uses focused radiation beams and targets well-defined tumors. In order to focus in on the region, the tumors need to be imaged and marked (using fiduciary markers) in advance. During treatment with the Cyberknife system from Accuray, patients need to be immobilized, and even the movement from the patient's breathing needs to be taken into account.