Brain Metastases Treatment

Go ahead…enjoy life, even when you’re fighting cancer.

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.

Learn from leading radio-oncologists, neurosurgeons and physicists explaining how brain metastases develop and get insights about the latest technologies to treat them.

We are living in one of the most dynamic and exciting periods of medicine for cancer treatment. We are treating primary cancers with new and better options, enabling patients to live longer. The most common primary sites for brain metastases are lung, breast, skin, kidney, and gastrointestinal tract.
Advanced technologies and treatment options for secondary cancers to the brain – brain metastases – are helping improve survival rates and quality of life for patients, helping them live longer, fuller lives with better control of their cancer.

Together with the American Brain Tumor Association, Brainlab has developed a comprehensive documentary about these treatment options and about Brenda, a patient who is telling her story of how she dealt with this diagnosis.

Chapter Description

1. What are Brain Metastases? (0:00)
Hear from patient Brenda Smith about her brain mets and their impact on her life.
2. What Causes Brain Metastases? (3:07)
Learn which cancers are more likely to penetrate the blood-brain barrier.
3. Is Chemotherapy Effective for Brain Metastases? (5:10)
Understand the challenges associated with chemotherapy for brain metastases.
4. What is Whole Brain Radiation Therapy (WBRT)? (6:11)
Discover the history of conventional treatment.
5. What is Stereotactic Radiosurgery? (8:40)
Appreciate the technology and techniques behind highly precise, tumor-targeted radiation therapy.
6. What is the Gamma Knife? (10:22)
 Explore the first-of-its-kind tumor-targeting radiation system.
7. What is a Linear Accelerator? (12:18)
Investigate the different types of and benefits to stereotactic radiosurgery systems.
8. How are Patients Immobilized During Radiation? (13:18)
Discover the pros and cons of both invasive head rings and non-invasive patient immobilization.
9. What is the CyberKnife? (16:31)
Learn about this robotic linear accelerator.
10. What is Shaped Beam Radiosurgery? (17:32)
Find out how technology allows doctors to conform the radiation to match the shape of any tumor.
11. Can Multiple Tumors Be Treated Simultaneously? (19:03)
Learn about cutting edge technologies for single session treatment of multiple brain metastases.
12. When is Radiosurgery Performed More Than Once? (21:39)
Understand how tumors grow and treatment works on larger tumors.
13. Why is Whole Brain Radiation Therapy Still Performed? (24:37)
Hear about current thinking and the outlook for whole brain radiation.
14. What Happens After Radiosurgery? (26:09)
See how clinicians are working to turn brain mets into a chronic disease through technology and diligent follow-up.
15. When is Surgery Recommended? (27:09)
Know the tools we have to effectively treat brain metastases.
16. Do You Ever Need Both Surgery AND Radiosurgery? (28:20)
Understand why in some cases the best treatment option is a combined approach.
17. How to Choose the Best Radiosurgery Treatment. (29:15)
Learn how to decide on the best and appropriate treatment for you.
18. What is the Future of Brain Metastases Treatment? (30:25)
Gain insights into how future innovation in technology will further improve treatment options.

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Preserving Cognitive Brain Function

Patients should discuss quality of life and ‘preservation of cognitive function’ when analyzing brain metastasis treatment options such as surgery, whole brain radiation and stereotactic radiosurgery. Over the last decade, studies have been conducted that suggest that some patients can be treated with stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) alone without whole brain radiation therapy. Memory and learning are important components of any patient’s quality of life, and we now know that SRS alone is a viable and effective treatment consideration. [10, 11]

Click here for an overview of treatment options for brain metastasis.

Why Is This Documentary Important?

  • Stefan Vilsmeier

    Curiosity. Perseverance. Inspiration.

    The Brainlab Way

    Curiosity. Perseverance. Inspiration.

    The Brainlab Way

    “Twenty seven years ago I invented a software that helped neurosurgeons navigate the brain. Ever since, I have devoted my time, passion and expertise to develop advanced, software guided treatment options in radiosurgery and neurosurgery. Brainlab technology strives to give patients the highest degree of flexibility while at the same time securing the most precise, automated and clinically effective treatment. I am extremely proud and privileged to have supported hundreds of thousands of patients globally with our technology. In line with our vision to increase access to and knowledge of medical technology to physicians and patients alike, we have gathered 20 hours of expert interviews with leading physicians in the field of radiosurgery, to give you the best possible overview of current treatment options, so that you can make better educated decisions about your cancer treatment.”

    Stefan Vilsmeier, Chief Executive Officer (CEO)

    Read more
  • Despite feeling strong and hopeful during the filming of the documentary, sadly Brenda recently passed away. Her passing reminds us that metastatic brain cancer is unfortunately still a deadly disease. We hope that stories like Brenda’s will push researchers to discover new, even more effective ways to combat brain metastases. We give our deepest condolences to her family and friends. We are very honored to have had the chance to work with such an inspiring woman.

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  • Brainlab American Brain Tumor Association CEO DeVitto

    A Better Trajectory, A Better Outcome

    American Brain Tumor Association Mission

    A Better Trajectory, A Better Outcome

    American Brain Tumor Association Mission

    Learn about the ABTA

    “It’s very early on in a movement to really address the treatment of metastatic cancer, and metastatic brain in particular. The importance of  a film like this and the American Brain Tumor Association being a part of it, is it really gets back to our mission. If people understand that there is time for them to understand their tumor, that there is time for them to understand that diagnosis, and there is time for them to better understand their treatment options, it’s a better trajectory, it’s a better outcome, and I think that that is a mission fulfillment for our organization.”

    Ralph DeVitto, President & Chief Executive Officer

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Brainlab: Innovation is Our Weapon

Brainlab has been innovating precision radiotherapy for nearly 30 years so that we can help patients fight cancer and other conditions of the brain and body. We’re dedicated to improving patient access to treatments and the consistency of those treatments. We work on a global level to help improve patient outcomes.

Spotlight on the Experts

  • David Andrews

    David Andrews, MD
    Jefferson University Hospitals

    “If we can give you a plateau for survival, imagine what new protocols might be available to you that weren’t available even three years ago.”

  • Douglas Kondziolka

    Douglas Kondziolka, MD
    Radiation Oncologist
    NYU Langone Medical Center

    “Patients are surprising us. They are living longer. They’re beating the odds. We’re seeing things we never saw before.”

  • Veronica Chiang

    Veronica Chiang, MD
    Yale University School of Medicine

    “We’ll find the cure for cancer eventually but in the meantime, we want people to be able to live with their cancer as opposed to for their cancer.”

  • Howard Chandler

    Howard Chandler, MD
    Piedmont Atlanta Hospital

    “In my opinion, the development of the micro-multileaf collimator has been the biggest advance in radiosurgery during my professional career … it allows more precise and homogenous deliver of the radiation to the target only, so you’re delivering a minimum of radiation to the healthy brain tissue around it.”

  • Dwight Heron

    Dwight Heron, MD
    Radiation Oncologist
    UPMC Shadyside Hospital

    “We now have capabilities, in radiosurgery, to treat tumors that are in deep and inaccessible areas with almost relative impunity. We can do with such targeted approaches that the side effects are no longer significant.”

  • Orin Bloch

    Orin Bloch, MD
    Northwestern Memorial Hospital

    “The blood-brain barrier works very well at keeping toxins and infections that in our blood from getting into our brains. Cancer has developed a mechanism to penetrate this barrier, and some types are better at it than others, which is why we tend to see most metastatic cancers from lung, breast, melanoma and testicular cancers.”

  • Eric Chang

    Eric Chang, MD
    Radiation Oncologist
    Keck School of Medicine of USC

    “The future of brain metastasis treatments? Better neuroimaging, better technologies to deliver radiation—specifically radiosurgery—and better systemic agents that will cross the blood-brain barrier, hone in and target tumors. There’ll be exciting new therapies coming down the road that are going to improve on how we currently treat metastatic brain disease.”

  • David Roberge

    David Roberge, MD
    Radiation Oncologist
    Centre hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal

    “Radiosurgery has evolved quite a bit; it’s a double-edged sword that it can be performed, even for brain metastases, in smaller clinics with general radiotherapy equipment. The quality might not be exactly the same in a smaller clinic as it is in a large institution where they have a device dedicated to radiosurgery. Patients can and should look for some accreditation in which they trust/have confidence.”

  • Timothy Solberg

    Timothy Solberg, PhD
    Medical Physicist
    University of California, San Fransisco

    “I think the important questions to ask when diagnosed with cancer are: Do you have a cancer center? A multidisciplinary team? Does a body like the National Cancer Institute recognize your cancer center? Do your practitioners—surgeons, radiation oncologists—have specialized training? You want to know that your doctors have been trained and that they have enough of the right experience.”

  • James Robar

    James Robar, PhD
    Medical Physicist
    Dalhousie University

    “Newer evidence shows that if we use stereotactic radiosurgery for up to 10 brain metastases then we can get improved outcomes in terms of the quality of life for that patient. Particularly over the past two years or so, we’ve seen the number of brain metastases that we’ll treat, or the maximum number that we’ll treat increase from three to a maximum of 10.”

Find an Expert

Looking to explore cutting-edge technologies for the treatment of brain metastasis? Want a second opinion? Search our comprehensive database of Brainlab Novalis Radiosurgery experts for a facility near you.

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