Cookeville Regional Now Offers Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

The Cancer Center at Cookeville Regional is proud to become the first in the region to add stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) to its arsenal of cancer-fighting therapies.


SBRT is a treatment modality that uses advanced, image-guided techniques to deliver large doses of radiation to a precise, targeted area for very specific types of cancer.


“This can be used in certain lung cancers that are on the small side and located away from the center of the body, and it can be used to treat brain lesions,” said Dr. Algis Sidrys, a radiation oncologist at the CRMC Cancer Center. “In the future, people may be treated with SBRT for cancer that has spread to the liver.”


The main advantage of SBRT therapy is that, instead of delivering a small dose of radiation each day for several weeks, it uses very focused beams of high-dose radiation given in fewer treatments.


“SBRT allows for a much shorter treatment course and perhaps a more effective treatment in some situations,” said Dr. Sidrys. “In some cases, for example, instead of treating a person for lung cancer for seven weeks, we will be able to treat them in just one week.”


Another advantage of SBRT is that it may create fewer side effects because several beams are aimed at the tumor from different angles.


“Radiation goes in a straight line through the body, so if we’re treating with just one beam, then all of the normal tissues that are in line with the tumor are going to get the same dose,” said Dr. Sidrys. “However, if we’re treating with 10 or even more beams from different angles, then the normal tissues get one tenth the amount of radiation, and the point where all of the beams intersect gets 100 percent.”


Dr. Sidrys notes, however, that at this point SBRT is only effective for certain types of cancer.


“If someone has cancer that has spread to the lymph nodes, then we cannot use this technique,” he said. “If it’s a very large lesion, we can’t use it, or if it’s very close to other structures, then we potentially could not use it, either.”


CRMC chose to add linear accelerators capable of providing SBRT to three of its current radiation machines because the hospital wanted to offer the most advanced care to the patients of the Upper Cumberland.


“SBRT is becoming the standard of care, and it will be for the next several years,” said Dr. Sidrys. “It is definitely the direction that radiation is going, and Cookeville Regional has always made it a point to offer standard-of-care medicine.”


For more information about the cancer program at Cookeville Regional, call (931) 528-2541 or visit