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Learn How Some Brain Tumors Are Treated at Upcoming Seminar

July 06, 2010

Technology to Treat Brain Tumors Continues to Advance

Did you know one in every five people has a benign, non-cancerous tumor in their brain? Most of these tumors are small and don’t grow, so they may never cause a problem. But, there is always a chance that a tumor may expand, placing pressure on surrounding areas of the brain.

"Today, an increasing number of benign brain tumors are being diagnosed," says neurosurgeon Sandeep Kunwar, M.D., co-medical director of the Gamma Knife Program at Washington Hospital in Fremont. "With advanced technology, many tumors that cause minor symptoms or no symptoms at all can now be easily treated in an outpatient setting with no need for open surgery. We can also treat other types of tumors located in the head and neck, as well as some other brain-related disorders."

Dr. Kunwar will discuss the latest and most advanced technology to treat brain tumors and other brain-related conditions at a free Health & Wellness seminar sponsored by Washington Hospital on Tuesday, July 13 at 1 p.m. The presentation will be held in the Conrad E. Anderson M.D., Auditorium next to Washington Hospital (Washington West) at 2500 Mowry Avenue in Fremont. To reserve your spot, go online to www.whhs.com and look under Upcoming Seminars, or call (800) 963-7070.

Board certified in neurosurgery, Dr. Kunwar is nationally and internationally known for expertise, innovation and leadership in the field of minimally invasive neurosurgery. At Washington Hospital’s Taylor McAdam Bell Neuroscience Institute, he and the program’s co-medical director, radiation oncologist David Larson, M.D., Ph.D., work with a team of experts to utilize the industry-leading Gamma Knife PERFEXION to effectively treat many neurological conditions, including some metastatic brain tumors that result from cancer in another area of the body.

Despite its name, Gamma Knife radiosurgery requires no incision and is essentially painless. The treatment takes about four hours. Patients return home the same day and can usually resume normal activities the following day.

"Our goal is to get the brain to function as well as possible, which enables patients to function better in their daily lives," explains Dr. Kunwar. "The Gamma Knife technology is so precise, we can successfully treat tumors and other conditions in the least invasive, least traumatic fashion."

Radiosurgery stops tumors from growing by damaging the DNA, which destroys their ability to reproduce. When damaged cells are destroyed by radiation, the body naturally eliminates them.

Gamma Knife treatment offers many advantages over other types of radiation therapy. The only technology developed specifically for treating brain tissue, it can focus between 200 and 10,000 individual beams of cobalt radiation on the tumor with sub-millimeter accuracy. This means nearby healthy tissue, such as arteries, nerves and other structures, is left unharmed.

Since the first Gamma Knife was introduced in 1968, more than 400,000 patients have been safely and effectively treated. The PERFEXION is the latest and most refined generation of the technology.

For larger benign brain tumors that can lead to headaches, vision changes, weakness or seizures, Dr. Kunwar utilizes another minimally invasive technique called Keyhole Craniotomy. Using advanced technology, the tumor is dissected through small portals. This approach will also be discussed at the July 13 seminar.

Although there has been considerable research into the use of the Gamma Knife to treat movement disorders such as Parkinson’s Disease, other technologies are also showing promise in effectively combating this difficult condition.

"The most commonly used technique for Parkinson’s is called Deep Brain Stimulation," reports Dr. Kunwar. "Similar to a cardiac pacemaker, surgeons can now insert an electrical device into the brain that can give patients relief."

Learn More About the Gamma Knife Program

For more information on Gamma Knife treatment and the other advanced techniques performed at the Taylor McAdam Bell Neuroscience Institute, visit www.gammaknifeprogram.com or call (888)-PERFEXION (737-3394) for a referral. You can register to attend "The Latest Technology in Treating Brain Tumors and Parkinson’s Disease" seminar online at www.whhs.com.