Stereotactic ablative radiotherapy (SABR)

An advanced radiotherapy technique that provides an entirely non-invasive cancer treatment option for people with both localised and secondary tumours.

Cutting-edge treatment

We are proud to offer a world-class service for stereotactic ablative radiotherapy – a specialist technique that can treat tumours with minimal damage to surrounding healthy tissue. Also known as stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT), SABR involves the use of advanced technology to deliver a beam of radiation to a tumour, killing cancer cells within it. Treatment is given on an outpatient basis over three to five sessions, with no anaesthetic or overnight stay required. SABR can be used to treat localised tumours (where the cancer is only found in the tissues where it started) and delay the growth of secondary cancers (where the cancer has spread to other tissues in the body).

It's also sometimes used to treat areas that have already been treated with radiotherapy and where a cancer has returned. This is known as repeat radiotherapy or SABR reirradiation and is available at our GenesisCare centres in Bristol, Birmingham, Cambridge, Chelmsford, Elstree, London, Maidstone, Nottingham, Oxford.

A network of specialists

SABR is offered across our UK network by a team of specialists highly experienced in applying this technique to a wide variety of cancers. We have a robust approach to patient selection, making sure that all treatment offered is based on international medical best practice. All cases are reviewed by a panel of experts before treatment proceeds. By combining this expertise with leading-edge technology, we offer exceptional care and a treatment plan that is tailored to your needs.

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Contact us today to find out if SABR is right for you.

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What’s different about SABR?

Conventional radiotherapy aimed at tumour eradication often involves treatment of both the visible tumour and also surrounding tissues, in order to deal effectively with all the cancer that may be located in a particular part of the body. For example, when treating a cancer in the rectum, both the tumour itself but also surrounding lymph nodes (glands) are targeted. Treatment usually involves between 15 and 35 sessions over several weeks, and may be combined with chemotherapy. This form of radiotherapy may be used on its own, or in combination with surgery. This is the right treatment for many people with certain cancers.

A more convenient treatment option

By contrast, SABR targets just the cancer that can be seen, using much more focused beams of radiation and shorter treatment schedules. In this way, SABR is like other techniques such as surgery, radiofrequency ablation (RFA), microwave ablation (MWA), transarterial chemo-embolisation (TACE), irreversible electroporation (IRE, ‘NanoKnife’) and cryotherapy. But unlike those approaches, SABR is entirely non-invasive. Because a minimal amount of healthy tissue is exposed to the radiation using this approach, the side effects are usually mild and many people get no side effects at all. And because the radiation dose is often higher than it is with conventional radiotherapy, the likelihood of tumour control is very good.

SABR Reirradiation

Sometimes SABR is used to treat an area that has previously been treated with radiotherapy and where a cancer has returned. Because of the high accuracy and specific targeting of SABR, treatment is focused on a precise area so limits exposure to surrounding healthy tissue that may have already been exposed to radiation in the past. This makes SABR reirradiation a safe and effective treatment option for patients who may not be suitable for surgery.  

What does SABR involve?

Your treatment will involve an initial appointment with a GenesisCare consultant who has the appropriate experience, either in person or via a secure video consultation. You’ll then need to attend one of our SABR centres for scans, which are used to plan how the treatment should be delivered, and possibly further outpatient tests.

Cancers treated using SABR

Your GenesisCare consultant will discuss your diagnosis, treatments to date and overall health with a multidisciplinary team of SABR specialists. Together, they’ll decide if SABR is right for you. Your consultant will explain the treatment plan to you, including any side effects you might experience and the outcome we can expect to achieve. You’ll have time to ask questions before you decide whether you want to proceed.

SABR can be used to treat:

  • Abdominal and pelvic tumours
    • Tumours in the pancreas that haven’t spread around the body
    • Tumours arising in the liver if the healthy liver is strong enough
    • Secondary tumours in the liver, adrenal glands and lymph nodes
    • Recurrent cancer in the pelvis after previous radiotherapy
    • Prostate cancer, depending on the tumour stage
    • Tumours in the kidney
  • Secondary bone tumours (or metastases) in the rib cage, pelvis, leg, arm or spine
  • Primary lung cancer and lung metastases
  • Secondary tumours in the brain
  • SABR reirradiation - tumours that have recurred in the prostate, pelvis, spine, lung, liver or pancreas after an initial course of radiotherapy

However, SABR usually isn’t useful if there are more than five secondary tumours or if the tumours are too large.

What about side effects?

As with any cancer treatment, you may experience side effects. What you experience is often dependent on the location of the tumour. Your consultant will discuss with you which of these are more likely to affect you.

Book an appointment

Contact us today to find out if SABR is right for you.

Our SABR specialists

Dr Shahzeena Aslam

MB BS, MSc (Oncology), MRCP, FRCR

Clinical Oncologist

Milton Keynes +1

Dr Carla Perna

MBBS, FRCR (equiv.)

Clinical Oncologist

Guildford +2

Dr Philip Camilleri

MD, MRCP, FRCR

Clinical Oncologist

Oxford +1

Dr Nicola Dallas

MBChB, MRCP, FRCR

Clinical Oncologist

Windsor +1

Dr Luis Aznar-Garcia

MD, PhD, MRCR

Consultant Clinical Oncologist

Dr Prabir Chakraborti

MBBS, MSc, FRCS, FRCR

Clinical Oncologist

Nottingham +3

Dr Timothy Sevitt

MA, MB, Bchir, MRCP, FRCR

Clinical Oncologist

Maidstone

Prof Vincent Khoo

MB BS, FRACR, FRCR, MD

Clinical Oncologist

London Cromwell Hospital +1

Dr Prantik Das

MBBS, MRCP, FRCR

Clinical Oncologist

Nottingham +1

Dr James Good

MSc PhD FRCR

Clinical Oncologist

Birmingham +1

Dr Alex Martin

MA, BM BCh, MD, MRCP, FRCR

Clinical Oncologist

Cambridge +1

Dr Andy Gaya

BSc, MB BS, MRCP, FRCR, MD

Clinical Oncologist

Oxford +2

Dr Patryk Brulinski

MD/Physician (Hons), MRCP, FRCR, PGDip Oncology

Clinical Oncologist

Maidstone

Dr Ami Sabharwal

BSc (Hons), MBBS, MRCP, FRCR, MD

Consultant Oncologist

Oxford

Dr Daniel Ajzensztejn

FRCR, MRCP, DPhil (PhD), MSc Oncology, BSc Pharmacology, MBBS

Consultant Clinical Oncologist

Dr Meera Nandhabalan

BM BCh BA FRCR PhD

Clinical Oncologist

Oxford

Dr Veni Ezhil

MBBS, MRCP, FRCR

Clinical Oncologist

Guildford +2

Dr Andrew Chan

MBChB (Hons), BMedSci (Hons), MRCP, FRCR

Clinical Oncologist

Birmingham

Dr Sarah Jefferies

BSc, MB BS, FRCR, PhD, FRCP

Clinical Oncologist

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Contact us today to find out if stereotactic ablative radiotherapy is right for you.

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