Treating Liver Tumors with Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy

CyberKnife®’s ability to treat tumors with precisely focused radiation offers an important advantage for patients with cancer of the liver. Accurate to within less than a millimeter, radiosurgery has minimal effect on surrounding health tissue. This level of accuracy enables doctors to target liver tumors with high-dose radiation, which significantly reduces the number of treatments needed – usually between three and five over several days compared to 30-40 over several weeks required for radiotherapy systems. Radiosurgery has other benefits as well, namely its ability to track tumors in real time. That means patients breathe normally during each treatment session, since the radiation beam adjusts automatically to the tumor location.

Treating Liver Tumors with Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy

CyberKnife’s ability to treat tumors with precisely focused radiation offers an important advantage for patients with cancer of the liver. Accurate to within less than a millimeter, radiosurgery has minimal effect on surrounding health tissue. This level of accuracy enables doctors to target liver tumors with high-dose radiation, which significantly reduces the number of treatments needed – usually between three and five over several days compared to 30-40 over several weeks required for radiotherapy systems. Radiosurgery has other benefits as well, namely its ability to track tumors in real time. That means patients breathe normally during each treatment session, since the radiation beam adjusts automatically to the tumor location.

What Are Liver Tumors?

Liver cancer is cancer that begins in the cells of your liver. Your liver is a football-sized organ that sits in the upper right portion of your abdomen, beneath your diaphragm and above your stomach.

Several types of cancer can form in the liver. The most common type of liver cancer is hepatocellular carcinoma, which begins in the main type of liver cell (hepatocyte). Other types of liver cancer, such as intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma and hepatoblastoma, are much less common.

Not all cancers that affect the liver are considered liver cancer. Cancer that begins in another area of the body — such as the colon, lung or breast — and then spreads to the liver is called metastatic cancer rather than liver cancer. And this type of cancer is named after the organ in which it began — such as metastatic colon cancer to describe cancer that begins in the colon and spreads to the liver. Cancer that spreads to the liver is more common than cancer that begins in the liver cells.

Advantages of SBRT

  • Treats patients in 5 or fewer visits, depending on tumor size, volume, and location
  • Constantly corrects for patient/tumor movement throughout treatment, ensuring radiation beams are always locked on tumor during treatment
  • Respiratory tracking feature requires no breath-holding or respiratory gating by patient
  • Reaches tumors from virtually unlimited directions with robotic mobility
  • Enables clinicians to maximize and conform the dose to the tumor target while limiting radiation exposure to surrounding healthy tissue
  • Outpatient procedure, little or no recovery time and minimal side effects
  • Requires no anesthesia
  • Allows for an immediate return to normal activities

Diane Heaton, M.D.

Dr. Heaton has a wealth of knowledge in radiosurgery and treatment with the CyberKnife. She was the first physician to perform radiosurgery in the state of Oklahoma and has 15 years of experience with this technology.

After graduating from the University of Illinois Medical School, Dr. Heaton completed her residency at Rush Presbyterian St. Luke’s Hospital in Chicago, Illinois, and then became Assistant Professor of Radiation Oncology in Memphis, Tennessee, at the University of Tennessee College of Medicine and Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital. Since 1994, she has been practicing medicine in Tulsa.

Dr. Heaton is a member of the American Society of Radiation Oncology, OSMA, AMA, and ACR and has received many awards in recognition of her clinical excellence. She has special experience and interest in hyperthermia, brachytherapy, and radiosurgery.

Diane Heaton, M.D.

Dr. Heaton has a wealth of knowledge in radiosurgery and treatment with the CyberKnife. She was the first physician to perform radiosurgery in the state of Oklahoma and has 15 years of experience with this technology.

After graduating from the University of Illinois Medical School, Dr. Heaton completed her residency at Rush Presbyterian St. Luke’s Hospital in Chicago, Illinois, and then became Assistant Professor of Radiation Oncology in Memphis, Tennessee, at the University of Tennessee College of Medicine and Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital. Since 1994, she has been practicing medicine in Tulsa.

Dr. Heaton is a member of the American Society of Radiation Oncology, OSMA, AMA, and ACR and has received many awards in recognition of her clinical excellence. She has special experience and interest in hyperthermia, brachytherapy, and radiosurgery.

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