An estimated 30% of women with advanced breast cancer develop metastases in the brain, many of them likely to be younger women. Conventionally, patients with cancer that has spread to the brain receive radiation to the whole brain, which can cause negative cognitive effects. The incidence of brain metastases is increasing as new drugs allow women to live longer with their advanced breast cancer.
Stereotactic radiotherapy delivers a high dose, highly precise burst of radiation to a very small area. It has better outcomes in controlling the cancer in the brain and in overall survival, and a much better cognitive outcome. As well as cancer that has spread to the brain, this treatment is also effective on metastases in the lungs, liver and bones.