Stereotactic Radiosurgery at Mary Washington Healthcare
First in Virginia to earn rigorous Novalis Certification for Stereotactic
The Mary Washington Healthcare Regional Cancer Center (RCC) has introduced
stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) to the Fredericksburg region. We are the
only cancer center offering this procedure within a 60-mile radius and
only one of 12 worldwide using this highly advanced level of SRS technology.
SRS is managed by the Regional Cancer Center's experienced physicians
experienced in radiation therapy, neurosurgery, and thoracic surgery.
One of the most recent major medical advances in fighting cancer, SRS has
revolutionized brain and lung cancer treatments. It's unusual for
a regional cancer center to offer such a high level of cancer treatment.
This level of radiation therapy is typically only found in large metropolitan
areas, and academic healthcare centers.
SRS is performed using the Varian TrueBeam™ system, the most advanced
radiation technology. TrueBeam and SRS are offered at the Mary Washington
Hospital Radiation Oncology center located in the new cancer services
building on the Mary Washington Hospital campus.
SRS is a non-surgical procedure for patients who need very precise targeting
when radiation therapy or invasive surgery poses too significant a risk
for damaging surrounding tissue or organs, a complication most often found
in brain and lung cancer. It is also highly effective in treating difficult-to-reach
tumors in the brain and lungs.
Novalis Radiosurgery Program Benefits
As one of the most advanced cancer treatment options available, Novalis
Radiosurgery Program is changing the face of cancer treatment, and has
already helped thousands of people continue to go to work, spend time
with family and friends, and take part in their favorite activities, all
while fighting cancer. It has been specifically designed to offer a precise,
fast, personalized and non-invasive treatment* so that patients can benefit
from a more comfortable treatment experience.
- Shapes the cancer-fighting radiation beam around your tumor or lesion,
ensuring that the maximum prescribed dose of high-energy radiation is
delivered to the entire tumor or lesion
- Protects surrounding healthy tissue
- Adapts treatment to your breathing and other body movements so that radiation
delivery is always safe, complete and accurate
- Delivers treatment in as little as 15-20 minutes for a more comfortable
treatment experience when compared with other radiosurgery treatment options
- Reduces the likelihood of body or tumor movements, ensuring that treatment
is delivered with the highest possible accuracy
- Offers one-time treatment or a series of treatments based on your doctor’s
- Flexible treatment options ensure that you receive the best treatment for
- Delivers one of the highest dose rates to treat tumors deep inside the
body or brain
- Offers hope to those with conditions once considered untreatable and for
whom surgery is not an option
- Frameless radiosurgery offers you a more comfortable and non-invasive alternative
to other radiosurgery systems which require immobilization with a head
ring that attaches to the skull.
Mary Washington Healthcare physicians specializing in SRS Treatment
Lead radiation oncology physician,
John C. Chinault, MD, offers a uniquely beneficial advantage: an earlier career as a physicist
compelled him to earn his MD in radiation oncology. He was instrumental
in bringing SRS to the region.
J. Timothy Sherwood, MD, fellowship-trained thoracic surgeon and Associate Professor at Johns
Hopkins University School of Medicine, works with patients on the lung
Frequently Asked Questions
What types of conditions can be treated with Novalis radiosurgery?
Novalis radiosurgery treats non-cancerous and cancerous conditions including:
- Acoustic neuromas
- Arteriovenous malformations (AVM)
- Brain metastases/gliomas
- Cavernous angiomas
- Intractable seizures
- Liver tumors/metastases
- Lung tumors/metastases
- Meningiomas of the skull base
- Parkinson's disease
- Pediatric brain tumors
- Pituitary adenomas
- Prostate cancer/metastases
- Recurrent brain tumors
- Spine tumors/metastases
- Trigeminal neuralgia
How does Novalis radiosurgery work?
Novalis radiosurgery consists of a high-tech radiation delivery system
powered by innovative, sophisticated image-guidance and motion management
tools. This state-of-the-art system rotates around you, from many different
angles, delivering the cancer-fighting shaped treatment beams where they’re
needed. The image-guidance and motion management tools provide your doctors
with detailed information about the shape, size and position of your tumor,
they also guide setup and positioning, and monitor your body and tumor
motion during treatment.
Why is fast treatment important?
Fast treatment is more comfortable and reduces the likelihood of body
or tumor movements, increasing overall accuracy. In addition to offering
one of the fastest treatment times, Novalis radiosurgery continuously
tracks your body and tumor motion and automatically adjusts the beam of
radiation, maintaining the highest possible level of treatment accuracy.
What is the treatment advantage of Novalis Radiosurgery Program?
Other radiosurgery systems use circular beams of radiation to treat tumors
and lesions. Most tumors or lesions are irregular in shape so the circular
dose cannot completely conform to their exact shape. Shaping the beam
precisely to the patient's tumor provides further reduced radiation
dosages to healthy tissue surrounding the tumor. The radiation beam also
adapts to your breathing and other body movements to continuously maintain
safe, complete and accurate treatment.
Undergoing treatment for a tumor or lesion can be challenging, that’s
why Novalis radiosurgery is treatment designed with you in mind. Treatments
are fast, lasting only minutes, and you wear a frameless custom-fit mask
rather than an invasive head ring.
Will there be any side effects?
Your doctor will discuss potential side effects with you depending on
your overall treatment plan. Novalis radiosurgery treatment is not painful
in most cases and does not require anesthesia. Typically, there is no
scarring or disfigurement and little risk of infection, compared to conventional surgery.
While side effects are minimized, you may experience a headache, dizziness
and fatigue immediately following treatment, so driving is not recommended.
Make sure to arrange for transportation home.
What affect can radiation have on my tumor or lesion?
Radiosurgery and radiotherapy use high-energy treatment beams to deliver
the prescribed dose directly to your tumor cells, causing them to die.
Treatment results, visible on follow-up scans, may include shrinkage of
your tumor or no further tumor growth. Because cell destruction and absorption
of those cells within your system can be a lengthy process, it may take
up to six months before your doctor can determine the effect of treatment.
What is the difference between stereotactic radiosurgery and fractionated
Stereotactic radiosurgery and fractionated stereotactic radiotherapy refer
to two treatment delivery methods. Stereotactic radiosurgery delivers
a high dose of treatment to the tumor or lesion in a single session. Fractionated
stereotactic radiotherapy delivers a series of treatments to the tumor
or lesion over a period of time.
While both methods typically involve a similar total dose, fractionated
stereotactic radiotherapy delivers treatment in smaller amounts. Novalis
radiosurgery offers both stereotactic radiosurgery and fractionated stereotactic
radiotherapy treatments. Your doctor will recommend the best treatment
method for you based on your individual case.
Benign Tumor – An abnormal growth that is not cancer and does not spread to other areas
of the body.
Brachytherapy – Form of radiation therapy in which radioactive materials are implanted.
Cancer – A generic term for more than 100 different diseases that are characterized
by the uncontrolled, abnormal growth of cells. Cancer cells usually invade
and destroy normal tissue. Cancer cells can travel through the bloodstream
lymphatic system to reach other parts of the body.
Carcinoma – A cancerous tumor originating in epithelial cells (the surface cells of
tissues). Carcinomas tend to spread into surrounding tissues and to metastasize
to other parts of the body.
Chemotherapy – Treatment with toxic chemicals (e.g., anti-cancer drugs).
Computed Tomography (CT) – A form of X-Ray imaging in which 2D sections of a patient’s anatomy
are reconstructed from X-Rays projected through the body from many different
angles. CT images display sharp contrast based upon tissue density, and
exhibit high spatial accuracy.
Conformal Radiosurgery – Involves geometrically shaping the beam so that the beam’s contour
corresponds to the shape area in the beam’s eye view. The beam generally
delivers consistent dose across the targeted area.
Dosimetrist – A member of the radiation oncology team who helps develop the patient’s
treatment plan and performs calculations to carry out the radiation dose
prescription, in collaboration with the medical physicist and radiation
Fractionated Stereotactic Radiotherapy – A series of radiation treatments over a period of time.
Lesion – A change in body tissue.
Malignant Tumor – A mass of cancer cells that may invade surrounding
tissues or spread (metastasize) to distant areas of the body.
Radiotherapy – The use of high-energy radiation from X-Rays, gamma rays, neutrons
and other sources to treat tumors and destroy cancer cells.
Radiosurgery – A radiation therapy procedure that delivers a large dose of radiation
to a tumor over one to five treatment sessions.
Stereotactic Radiosurgery – Radiation treatment of a tumor that is applied in a single session
with a high dose of radiation.
Tumor – An abnormal lump or mass of tissue. Tumors can be benign
(non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous).