Stereotactic Lung radiotherapy

Stereotactic Ablative Body Radiotherapy (SABR) is the use of multiple small radiation beams to deliver high dose radiotherapy which is shaped to the size of the tumour and spares the surrounding normal tissue and organs as much as possible.

A major benefit is an increased chance of controlling the tumour compared to standard radiotherapy. Despite the fact that SABR delivers higher a dose of radiation, patients experience fewer side effects.

  • How does it differ to normal radiotherapy?
  • How SABR works
  • Who can benefit from SABR?
  • Our service

How does it differ to normal radiotherapy to the lung?

Due to the high precision and accuracy, stereotactic radiotherapy allows treatment to be delivered over fewer treatments using a higher dose radiation per day. Instead of 20 or 30 treatments it can be delivered over 3, 5 or 8 treatments which means that fewer hospital visits are required. Treatment is delivered on alternative days and is usually completed in 2 weeks but occasionally over 21 days.

How SABR works

Planning for treatment starts with a special (4D) CT scan to determine the area to be treated and map the target area as it moves over time with the patient’s breathing cycle. After the CT scan you will be given an appointment to start treatment about 1 week later. During this time the team will create your treatment plan, calculate and check the treatment plan.

On your first treatment appointment you will be carefully positioned on a special linear accelerator and we will check that your treatment is being delivered to the planned location using specialist imaging techniques.

Who can benefit from SABR?

It is most often used on small, non-small cell, well-defined tumours. 

Our service

We have 2 specialist linear accelerators at the main site in Withington and a group of specially trained Radiographers, Physicists and Clinical Oncologists dedicated to delivering stereotactic lung radiotherapy.  To date we have treated over 200 patients using this specialised technique.