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Cancer Treatment

New Radiation Technique Found to Extend Life Expectancy for Cancer Patients

Posted: April 22, 2019


SPOKANE, WA - An international study has shown a significant increase in survival rates for patients with metastatic cancer when they receive a relatively new radiation therapy technique called SABR (stereotactic ablative radiotherapy).

Typically, a patient whose cancer has metastasized, or spread to other parts of the body is often considered to be incurable. However, this study, conducted over several years, and across four countries, shows a substantial increase in patients’ life expectancy and time without new cancer growth.

SABR, also called SBRT (stereotactic body radiation therapy), is a form of high-precision therapy that delivers very high doses of radiation to the tumor site in one or a few sessions. This is opposed to the more traditional radiation therapy sessions that are often given over several weeks.  “This shows, for the first time in a randomized study, that radiating the tumors that have spread to other parts of the body may increase survival rates for patients with Stage IV metastatic cancer,” says Dr. Stephen Thatcher, CCNW Radiation Oncologist. “And SABR/SBRT allows patients to undergo fewer treatment sessions, in less time, with minimal side effects.”

The Alliance for Cancer Care, a partnership between Providence Health Care, Kootenai Health and Cancer Care Northwest, is the only local cancer care provider to perform SABR/SBRT utilizing the state-of-the-art Elekta Linear Accelerators, which have the most sophisticated real time imaging capabilities. This gives treating physicians the most accurate information with the most precise targeting for ultra-fast treatment times. Starting in 2007, CCNW Radiation Oncologists were the first physicians in the region to offer SABR/SBRT and have treated thousands of patients with this type of therapy.

For more information, Cancer Care Northwest has produced a web-video series explaining SABR/SBRT radiation therapy with CCNW Radiation Oncologist, Dr. Aaron Wagner: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLI5ZdS33nacpEsESYJPoCi6skZC3jnNsb

And here is a link explaining the study: https://www.astro.org/News-and-Publications/News-and-Media-Center/News-Releases/2018/High-dose-radiation-therapy-substantially-improves