Targeted Treatment in the Fight Against Cancer
After or during your diagnoses, your physician will determine if you may
benefit from the CyberKnife treatment. If you are a candidate, you can
expect that your CyberKnife treatment(s) will involve a team approach
in which several medical professionals will collaborate to develop a treatment
plan designed just for you.
How is the CyberKnife System® Unique?
The CyberKnife® System is a one-of-a-kind device for several reasons.
First, the CyberKnife System uses image guidance software to track and
continually adjust treatment for any patient or tumor movement. This sets
it far ahead of other similar treatments. It allows patients to breathe
normally and relax comfortably during treatment.
Second, some forms of radiosurgery require rigid head-frames that are screwed
into the patient’s skull to minimize any movement. The CyberKnife
System does not require such extreme procedures to keep patients in place,
and instead relies on sophisticated tracking software, allowing for a
much more comfortable and non-invasive treatment.
Third, unlike some radiosurgery systems, which can only treat tumors in
the head, the CyberKnife System has unlimited reach to treat a broad range
of tumors throughout the body, including the prostate, lung, brain, spine,
liver, pancreas, and kidney.
And finally, the CyberKnife System’s treatment accuracy is unrivaled.
Its ability to treat tumors with pin-point accuracy is unmatched by other
radiation therapy and radiosurgery systems. The CyberKnife System can
essentially “paint” the tumor with radiation allowing it to
precisely deliver treatment to the tumor alone, sparing surrounding healthy tissue.
What is the Treatment Process?
The CyberKnife treatment process generally requires six simple steps from
start to finish:
- Evaluation - After being diagnosed, you can contact a CyberKnife center
directly or have your treating doctor provide you with a referral. Though
it may vary based on your specific treatment, you will likely work with
a team of clinicians, including a radiation oncologist, surgeon, medical
physicist, radiation technician and nurse coordinator.
- Fiducial Placement - Depending on the type and location of your tumor,
your team may recommend placement of fiducials – which are small
gold markers inserted near the tumor – to help identify the exact
location of your tumor during treatment. Not all treatments require fiducial
markers. The determination will be made based on the density, size and
location of the tumor.
- Imaging - Prior to treatment, an MRI and a CT or CT/PET scan is taken to
determine the size, shape and location of your tumor(s).
- Treatment Planning - Using images from a CT scan, the data is digitally
transferred to the CyberKnife® System’s treatment planning workstation,
where a qualified physician identifies the tumor(s) to be targeted and
the surrounding vital structures to be avoided. This plan is designed
to match the desired radiation dose to the tumor location and limit Radiation
exposure to the surrounding healthy tissue.
- Treatment - Once the treatment plan is developed, you can begin your CyberKnife
treatments. At the CyberKnife center, you will be comfortably positioned
on the treatment table. Then the CyberKnife System’s computer-controlled
robot will carefully move around you to deliver radiation at various locations
as prescribed by your treatment plan. At the same time, the CyberKnife
System is taking continual X-ray images that will provide real-time information
about the location of your tumor and enable the system to dynamically
track and correct for any movement of your tumor. Depending on the type
and location of your tumor, you can expect to undergo between one and
five treatment sessions.
- Recovery - Most CyberKnife patients do not experience side effects. Depending
on the type of treatment you receive, your side effects will vary. Patients
that do experience side effects are typically mild and considered acute
and do not require intervention. Patients should speak to their doctor
and discuss what side effects may occur and learn about potential risks.
Are there any side effects?
CyberKnife® patients routinely report that they have no side effects
or minimal side effects from their treatment, and in most cases, they
can immediately return to their normal daily activities. Speak with your
doctor about possible side effects you may encounter.