Radiation therapy for brain cancer

We offer the latest in radiation therapy treatment for brain cancer to ensure you receive the best possible care.

Radiation therapy treatment for brain cancer

Radiation oncologists use radiation for brain cancer to destroy cancer cells, reduce their growth or to relieve symptoms of the cancer. Radiation therapy treatment is often given after surgery or alongside other treatments.

There are many different radiation therapy techniques that may be suitable for your brain cancer. The treatment you receive will depend on the size and stage of your cancer and your general health.

External beam radiation therapy

External beam radiation therapy (EBRT) uses one or more beams to deliver high energy x-rays from outside the body to the cancerous area. Treatment is often given once a day, every day for a set number of weeks.1

Types of EBRT which can be used for the treatment of brain cancer include:

  • Intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) – a high precision type of radiation therapy that uses computer controlled linear accelerators to deliver high dose radiation to cancerous tumours in the brain
  • Volumetric modulated arc therapy (VMAT) – a novel radiation therapy technique that delivers the radiation dose continuously as the treatment machine rotates. This technique accurately shapes the radiation dose to the tumour while minimising the dose to surrounding organs. VMAT can be used to treat large areas of the body with uneven boundaries and tumours located close to vital organs without fear of damage to these organs by high doses of radiation

Stereotactic radiation therapy

Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) is a specific type of targeted radiation therapy that can be used to treat small benign or malignant (cancerous) brain tumours and those tumours that can’t be treated with surgery or that have metastasised (tumours that have spread to the brain from other areas of the body).1

It involves a special type of high-dose radiation therapy that targets affected areas in the brain whilst avoiding healthy brain tissue.1 SRS is usually delivered in one to five treatments.

Compared to traditional radiation therapy for metastatic disease to the brain, which involves treating the entire brain, SRS only targets the individual tumours with high doses of radiation. This provides less radiation to healthy brain tissue, reducing the risk of adverse intellectual function and the impact of side effects (e.g. hair loss and headaches), thus providing improved quality of life for patients.

At Bowen Icon Cancer Centre we use state-of-the-art technologies which can deliver treatment to multiple brain tumours at one time. This reduces the need to treat multiple tumours separately, resulting in a much shorter treatment time for patients. HyperArc is an advanced technique used to help deliver this treatment; other technologies may be used to treat multiple tumours, depending on the location of your treatment centre, but the software all work to achieve the best possible outcomes for patients.

Varian HyperArc

HyperArc is the latest technological advancement from Varian Medical Systems, and accurately targets multiple tumours while ensuring limited doses of radiation to surrounding healthy brain tissue.  In 2019 Bowen Icon Cancer Centre was the first in New Zealand to treat a Wellington cancer patient with multiple brain tumours using Varian’s HyperArc. For more information on HyperArc, click here.


For a full list of references, click here.
  1. Brain cancer treatment. (2018). Cancer Council. Retrieved on 20th February 2019 from https://www.cancercouncil.com.au/brain-cancer/treatment/
  2. Radiation therapy for brain cancer (2018). Cancer Council. Retrieved on 20th February 2019 from https://www.cancercouncil.com.au/brain-cancer/treatment/radiotherapy/

Starting radiation therapy

Knowing what to expect can help you prepare for your first radiation therapy visit.
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Frequently asked questions

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Contact us

  • 04 896 0200
  • Level B3, Bowen Specialist Medical Centre 98 Churchill Drive Crofton Downs Wellington 6035