1. Who originated the body radiosurgery procedure?

The physicians and physicists at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, developed the procedure in 1991, by adapting the principles of stereotactic radiosurgery in treating brain tumors. This procedure is commonly referred to as the Photon or Gamma Knife.

2. How many physicians in the United States have been trained to perform body radiosurgery?

Only a few medical doctors have traveled to Sweden and received personal instruction from the Karolinka Institute. Physicians in Japan have also been treained. Dr. Behar is one of the United States doctors, and the only physician from the Houston area.

3. Does body radiosurgery involve actual surgery?

No. Radiosurgery is pinpoint precision radiation using multiple, finely-contoured beams from many different angles -- all aimed at the cancer, thus minimizing radiation to normal, healthy tissue while the patient's body is maintained in a stable position using a special frame. Because the radiosurgery is so precise, greater than normal doses of radiation can be given over a shorter period of time on an outpatient basis. There is no anesthesia, operative risks or lengthy hospitalization and convalescence.

4. What type of cancers can be treated by body radiosurgery?

Some cancers do not respond well to conventional surgery or chemotherapy. These include metastases to sites such as the lungs, abdominal cavity, mediastinum, retroperitoneal, liver and elsewhere. Metastases are cancers that have spread from an original site either through local extension, the lymph nodes or blood vessels. Other cancers - either primary or metastatic - body radiosurgery has positively impacted include: neck, lung, breast, melanoma, kidney, pancreas, colon, ovarian, thyroid, sarcoma, gall bladder, spine and other extremeties. Additionally, body radiosurgery is being used as an adjunct to the treatment of prostate cancer by radioactive seed implants.

5. How can I learn if I am a candidate for body radiosurgery?

Recent CT and/or MRI scans are helpfull in the treatment team assessing whether an individual can benefit from body radiosurgery. Typically, an initial consult takes place at which time revelant history and medical information are obtained. If the patient is selected for body radiosurgery, a follow-up appointment will be made to develop the treatment plan and take an updated CT scan. Western Radiation Oncology Associates is sensitive to the needs of out-of-town travelers and works to expedite the process. If you think you may be a candidate, or know someone who may be, please contact the WROA office at (281) 517-0262. Often times, Dr. Behar will talk directly with the potential patient to assess the situation. Or complete the form in the CONTACT US section of this website and E-Mail. Dr. Behar has prepared a patient education brochure explaining the body radiosurgery procedure in greater detail that his office will be glad to forward. The office fax number to request is (281) 517-0263.

6. How many treatments are needed?

The exact number will depend on the size and location of the tumor as well as other medical considerations. Typically, no more than five treatments of 20 to 40 minutes each are needed.

Back to Body Radiosurgery

CT Scan of a 59 year-old female with lung cancer as indicated by the large and small black spots in the left mass.

CT Scan of same patient after body radiosurgery. Note the complete elimination of the cancerous spots.