Comparing Treatment Options

Medical care is very personal is personal; therefore, treatments must be personalized. What is a good approach for one person may not be the best approach for another person – even if they both have the same diagnosis.

Treatments used individually or together

Your treatment may include traditional or minimally-invasive surgery. If you have cancer, your treatment may also include cancer-fighting medications (chemotherapy), and/or radiation therapy. You and your doctor will evaluate various options and determine the best treatment plan for you. Your plan may include one or more types of treatment in a specific sequence.

Radiosurgery may be one of your options

Stereotactic radiosurgery may be one of the options your doctor discusses with you. Radiosurgery can treat cancer, benign tumors, and several neurological disorders, such as arteriovenous malformations, trigeminal neuralgia and tremor. It can be a treatment option when your doctor determines that surgery or other radiation therapies are not the best option or cannot be used.

Comparing radiosurgery and surgery

  Radiosurgery Surgery
Surgical Incision No Yes
General Anesthesia No Yes
Hospital Stay No Varies
Recovery Time No Varies

Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy is a broad title for various technologies that use radiation beams to destroy abnormal cells. The Swedish Cancer Institute has been a leader in radiation therapy since it first opened in 1932. Today, Swedish is the ultimate resource in Seattle and the Pacific Northwest for radiation-therapy options because of its comprehensive menu of internal and external radiation technologies, including stereotactic radiosurgery.


A surgeon performs both traditional and minimally invasive surgery in a hospital operating room. The patient is usually given general anesthesia, so he or she is not awake during the procedure. After surgery, the patient remains in the hospital for a period of time, and then completes his or her recovery at home. With minimally invasive surgery, the incision is smaller, surgery and recovery times are shorter and pain is less severe than with traditional surgery. In some cases, the patient has a shorter hospital recovery. In both cases, the doctor prescribes pain medication to control discomfort. In addition to surgery, the patient also may receive chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy to treat the cancer.

Learn more about surgical services at Swedish Medical Center
Learn more about cancer surgical services


Chemotherapy uses special drugs to kill cancer cells in the body. Depending on the type of cancer, chemotherapy may be used with other treatments, such as traditional or minimally invasive surgery, radiation therapy, or before and after radiosurgery treatment. These drugs may be injected through an IV or taken orally. The type and dose of the drugs determine the side effects.

Learn more about chemotherapy