The Cancer Center at Northside Hospital-Forsyth soon will be able to treat a wide range of brain tumors and other neurological conditions through the most advanced and non-invasive technology that delivers Gamma radiation. Georgia’s Department of Community Health recently approved Northside to purchase the Leksell Gamma Knife® Perfexion™ with Extend™ system, which allows physicians to use radiosurgery to treat conditions that previously were considered inaccessible or inoperable with traditional Gamma Knife technology. The new service should be available at Northside Hospital-Forsyth by January 2016.
Northside Hospital-Forsyth will be the only hospital in Metro Atlanta, one of only two in Georgia, with the Gamma Knife Extend system. The technology will be used to treat metastatic disease (cancer that has travelled to the brain from elsewhere in the body), in addition to a spectrum of benign and malignant vascular and functional disorders including arterio-venous malformations (AVMs) and Parkinson’s disease.
Nearly two-thirds of all cancer patients receive radiation therapy at some point during their treatment. In 2013, Northside Hospital-Forsyth’s Cancer Center saw approximately 450 new cancer patients and delivered nearly 9,800 radiation therapy treatments for a variety of cancers. Gamma Knife radiosurgery, sometimes referred to as stereotactic radiosurgery, has long been considered the “gold standard” in treating brain disorders. It delivers very precisely focused high-dose beams of radiation to selected areas deep within the brain, without a scalpel and without the usual risks of surgery or an incision.
However, traditional Gamma Knife technology is not able to treat some tumors because of their size or location. The Extend feature is a game-changer, allowing clinicians to non-invasively immobilize the patient’s head and making repeatable or multi-fraction Gamma Knife radiosurgery possible, ultimately making the technology accessible to more cancer patients. Other nationally recognized cancer centers including MD Anderson and the Cleveland Clinic also have adopted the Gamma Knife Extend technology and have found it to be the superior, and oftentimes only, treatment option for numerous intracranial lesions and conditions.
Typically, a patient receiving Gamma Knife Extend radiosurgery returns home the same day as their procedure, and side effects are generally minimal and insignificant.
“More cases of cancer are diagnosed and treated at Northside Hospital each year than at any other hospital in Georgia,” said Patti Owen, MN, RN, director, Northside Hospital Cancer Institute. “We look forward to being able to offer Gamma Knife Extend technology to our patients, and to further demonstrating our commitment to providing the most advanced cancer treatments closer to home.”