Radiation and Chemotherapy
If you or a loved one needs treatment for a brain tumor, it’s reassuring to know that experienced cancer specialists in Hampton Roads are close to home. At the Sentara Neuro-Oncology Center, we successfully treat brain tumors with radiation therapy or chemotherapy—even tumors that are surgically inoperable or cells that remain after surgery.
Our radiation oncologists use different types of radiation to treat brain tumors. Our medical oncologists specialize in treating tumor cells with powerful medications.
Radiation Therapy and Radiosurgery
Radiation therapy targets brain tumors with beams of X-rays or other forms of radiation. Some of our newer radiation technologies can target tumors with surgical precision and may replace the need for surgery altogether. Our expert radiation oncologists (physicians who specialize in treating cancer with radiation) use the following radiation therapies:
- Conventional external beam radiation aims radiation at the tumor and avoids surrounding healthy tissue. We use it for large inoperable tumors and tumors that have spread into surrounding tissue. We deliver external beam radiation in a series of doses so that your healthy brain cells have time to recover between treatments, but the tumor cells don’t.
- Stereotactic radiosurgery is advanced radiation therapy that targets tumors with the highest degree of precision. We use the CyberKnife® system to target brain tumors with hundreds of beams of radiation from different angles. These beams intersect at the tumor. This technology allows us to deliver high doses of radiation directly to the tumor and spare the surrounding healthy brain tissue. For certain tumors, the CyberKnife® system replaces the need for neurosurgery.
Our medical oncologists (physicians who specialize in treating cancer with medications) use powerful drugs to treat any malignant tumor cells that remain after surgery or radiation therapy. We often use chemotherapy in combination with radiation and surgical therapies. In this way, we make sure that we have destroyed as many cancer cells as possible.
Unfortunately, chemotherapy drugs are so powerful that they can damage healthy cells too. Our skilled medical oncologists administer precise doses of these drugs in cycles. This timing gives normal healthy cells enough time to recover.
Optune®: Noninvasive Brain Tumor Treatment
Optune® is a device that delivers tiny electrical pulses to your brain. These pulses are too small for you to feel, but they are strong enough to affect the tumor cells and stop them from multiplying. You must wear it on your head for 18 hours a day for it to be effective. Optune® is a safe, effective addition to surgery, radiation or chemotherapy for some people.
Expertise in Brain Tumor Surgery
Your best treatment option may be surgery, depending on the type and location of the brain tumor. Find out more about our minimally invasive and conventional options for surgery.
Access to Ongoing Clinical Trials
We participate in several clinic trials to provide the most innovative approaches for treating brain tumors. Your physician may recommend a clinical trial as part of your care plan in order to provide you with the best approach to treating your brain tumor.