Hi - and welcome ~
Many doctors shy away from offering radiation for folks that are under 60 or so based on outmoded thinking. The one-time 'conventional wisdom' regarding any AN-related radiation treatment was that a possible future medical condition might require radiation and the patient would have reached or be near their safe lifetime limit, taking more radiation treatments off the table at that point. However, the radiation used in AN treatment is very localized and unless a patient developed some form of brain cancer that required direct radiation of the skull, this should not be an issue.
Another concern was that radiating the AN had the possibility of causing the benign tumor to become cancerous and metastasize. Because Gamma Knife has been in use since 1988 with no conclusive evidence of GK patients radiated ANs becoming cancerous, this concern is pretty much baseless at this point. However, many doctors, probably preferring to err on the side of caution (and avoid a potential lawsuit
) will try to steer an AN patient away from any form of radiation treatment if they are not yet eligible for Social Security retirement benefits.
I was 63 when I underwent AN debulking surgery that 'cut down' my large (4.5 cm) AN and severed it's blood supply. Following a plan set up by my neurosurgeon and a radiation oncologist, I underwent 26 fractionated radiation treatments ('FSR') 90 days post-op. The surgery was completely successful and I suffered no complications. The FSR was uneventful - no side effects - and also successful, causing necrosis in the remaining tumor within two years post-radiation. Today, six years hence, I'm doing great. As a side note, at no time did my neurosurgeon or radiation oncologist mention any danger of my radiated AN becoming cancerous.. I did ask about it and they said it wasn't a concern. Of course, I was in my early 60's at the time which may have been a factor in their sanguine attitude but still, I'm certain these two doctors, highly skilled and very experienced with AN cases (the neurosurgeon had 3 decades of AN experience
) would not have proceeded had they held any real concerns about the long-term safety of the FSR treatment. Of course, this is anecdotal but I thought it might be illuminating for you as you deal with how to treat your newly-discovered AN. Jim