June 28, 2022
To some people with brain tumours, the idea of undergoing a gamma knife procedure may sound very novel and scary. But in fact the procedure is so well established that people have had having their lives transformed for many years.
Speaking to the Richmond-Times Dispatch in the US, Tina Holloway, a patient who had been diagnosed with a stage 4 metastatic melanoma in 2015 – by which point the cancer had also spread to her breasts, abdomen, legs and pelvis as well as her brain – explained her story.
The prognosis looked terminal, with doctors giving her six months to live, but Gamma Knife surgery saved her life. After three hours of surgery, she was sent home and within 30 days she was declared in remission. “It’s scary when you’re told you have six months to live,” Ms Holloman said, “and here I am in 2022.”
Private radiotherapy centres in the UK like ours have been using Gamma Knife surgery for years. The fact that the procedure has been used so often, for so long and with so much success should be seen as highly encouraging to anyone needing treatment.
There should be no surprise that this extraordinary technology should be seeing more and more use. Indeed, the latest research has revealed that the technique continues to grow in use all over the world and will go on doing so.
A market research study by Future Market Insights titled ‘Gamma Knife Market: Global Industry Analysis and Opportunity Assessment 2015-2025’ has predicted that there will be ongoing rapid growth in the use of the technology.
It predicted the market will see compound annual growth of 5.90 per cent between 2021 and 2031, taking its global value from US$287.3 million to US$507 million, with North America being the leading regional market, the Asia-Pacific region second and Europe third.
The UK will be a part of Europe’s growth, although the prediction is for Germany to be the leading user of Gamma Knife surgery in Europe with a 20 per cent share of procedures.
Dealing with brain metastasis will be the most common use of the technique, although others will include conditions such as arteriovenous malformation and trigeminal neuralgia.
Behind these numbers lie thousands of real-life stories of patents for whom it seemed all hope was lost and who, without Gamma Knife surgery, the rest of their lives would have been very short. Not only is the hugely treatment effective, but it is painless, people can go straight home afterwards without a long convalescence, and there is none of the physical scarring involved in invasive surgery.
For so many the reality is now very different as they live cancer free lives way beyond their diagnoses and often with many more years ahead of them.