CyberKnife cancer treatment at a glance
- The CyberKnife Robotic Radiosurgery System is an advanced form of cancer therapy that precisely focuses radiation on cancer tumors.
- CyberKnife is an alternative to cancer surgery and traditional radiation, which typically involve hospital stays, damage to healthy tissue and uncomfortable side effects.
- CyberKnife radiation can treat tumors and other problems in virtually any area of the body.
- Because of its meticulous delivery of radiation, CyberKnife is often the best option for patients with tumors that are hard to reach and inoperable.
- CyberKnife treatment involves 1 to 5 sessions over the course of one to two weeks, as opposed to the 30 to 45 sessions of traditional radiation over a 6-9 weeks.
What is CyberKnife cancer treatment?
CyberKnife radiosurgery, also called stereotactic radiosurgery, is a form of radiation therapy that delivers high-dose radiation on an exact area of the body. CyberKnife radiosurgery targets and treats tumors in the body with very minimal damage to surrounding healthy tissue, which is the primary cause of cancer treatment side effects. Because of this, it is an excellent alternative to traditional cancer treatments, such as radiation, chemotherapy and surgery.
CyberKnife delivers higher doses of radiation than typical treatments, thereby requiring fewer treatments in a smaller time period. Most patients will undergo 1 to 5 treatments, with each treatment delivered in an as little as 25 minutes.
CyberKnife treatment attacks cancer using technology to accurately target a tumor down to about 4/1000ths of an inch.
Radiotherapy, and CyberKnife in particular, is the best or the only option for patients who are at a high risk from traditional cancer surgery. CyberKnife therapy can be an alternative for slowing the growth of small, deep brain tumors that can be difficult to reach by surgery.
Advantages of CyberKnife treatment
- CyberKnife can treat tumors just about anywhere in the body, including the prostate, brain, pancreas, liver, lung or kidneys.
- Treatment requires no hospitalization and is performed on an out-patient basis.
- CyberKnife uses special software to precisely guide radiation during the treatment and adjust for any patient movement, including breathing. Patient comfort is increased, as this eliminates the need for head frames.
- The treatment is painless and requires no incisions, anesthesia or pain medication.
- CyberKnife treatment considerably reduces the side effects associated with traditional cancer treatments.
- No recovery time is needed, and patients can quickly return to normal activities.
How CyberKnife treatment is performed
Before treatment, the CyberKnife surgeon conducts a variety of scans (CT, MRI, PET, ultrasound) on the patient to map the tumor 3 dimensionally. During therapy, the patient lies under a robotic device, computer-controlled to move around the patient and focus radiation precisely on the area of treatment.
The radiation dosage is determined by the properties of the individual tumor, such as its location, size, shape and density. The tumor shape is precisely marked, allowing CyberKnife to determine its position within just 1 millimeter, even if the patient moves or the tumor’s position changes slightly. Most tumors tend to shift during various treatments due to changes in their size and shape. CyberKnife compensates for this with continual image guidance throughout treatment.
CyberKnife’s 360-degree movement allows it to deliver radiation beams at hundreds of different angles, precisely targeting the tumor. This reduces the amount of healthy tissue that is damaged during treatment, dramatically reducing side effects from treatment.
CyberKnife patients generally can go home immediately. Doctors usually monitor a patient’s progress via scans weeks or months after treatment, depending upon the condition being treated.