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Edge™ Radiosurgery: What’s So Special About It?

Edge™ is a new minimally invasive stereotactic radiosurgery used to treat a wide range of cancers including those of the prostate, lung, brain, spine and more. The Hughes Cancer Center at Lehigh Valley Hospital–Pocono is the first hospital in the region to offer Edge, a state-of-the-art radiation machine optimized to deliver stereotactic radiosurgery.

But what makes it different from other radiosurgery treatments?

Types of stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS)

Radiation oncologists use three different types of SRS:

  • Gamma Knife – these machines use gamma rays to treat small and-medium-size cancerous and noncancerous tumors of the brain.
  • Proton beam – the newest type of SRS, proton beam radiosurgery is only available at a handful of research centers in the U.S. Proton beam machines can treat brain cancers in one session or use SRS to treat tumors throughout the body over several sessions.
  • Linear accelerator – Edge falls into this category. Linear accelerator machines (LINAC) use photons – also known as X-rays – to treat tumors throughout the body. What makes Edge special from other LINAC machines is its ability to track tumors. Varian Medical Systems’ Calypso® tracking system works hand-in-hand with Edge to track tumors in real time, so that even tumors that readily move – such as those of the lung and prostate – can be precisely targeted with radiation.

Fewer, less invasive treatment

Edge means fewer treatments for patients. Using the combination of high-technology imaging and radiation, Edge is capable of delivering higher doses of radiation to destroy cancer cells. And, there’s no cutting, no anesthesia and no in-hospital stay with Edge.

Extreme precision and accuracy

Edge targets cancerous and noncancerous tumors with sub-millimeter accuracy and has the scientific research to back it up. Researchers from the Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown in Lisbon, Portugal, and the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, Mich., shared these findings with the American Association of Physicists in Medicine in July 2014.

Treatment and side effects

During treatment with Edge, patients lie comfortably for only a few minutes while the machine delivers precisely targeted radiotherapy in as few as one to five treatments. “Most people are able to carry on their daily activities without feeling tired or run down after treatment,” says Sean Quinlan-Davidson, MD, a board-certified radiation oncologist practicing at the Hughes Cancer Center.

As with any medical procedure, there is the possibility of side effects with radiosurgery. “Radiation oncologists do their best to minimize side effects, and Edge radiosurgery helps minimize the chance they will occur because of its accuracy,” says Quinlan-Davidson. “Advanced motion tracking techniques with Edge help radiation oncologists detect tumor movement. This leads to less radiation exposure to surrounding normal body tissue and therefore fewer side effects.”