January 22, 2020
When you or a family member is facing news of a tumor, naturally you want the best treatment possible. For some patients with tumors that are either too large or too complex to be removed surgically—or who prefer not to undergo surgery—CyberKnife® may be the solution. This state-of-the-art, pain-free radiation therapy offers new hope, particularly for treating tumors of the lung, brain, liver, prostate, head/neck and pancreas.
What is CyberKnife?
Contrary to what its name implies, the CyberKnife is not a knife at all and involves no cutting. It is a non-surgical radiation oncology treatment. Patients lie comfortably on a treatment table and radiation oncologists (physicians who specialize in treating cancer with radiation) deliver radiation through a robotic arm that provides pinpoint accuracy to destroy both cancerous and non-cancerous tumors.
What are the Benefits of CyberKnife?
CyberKnife treatment takes an hour or less per session and unlike traditional radiotherapy which often takes weeks to complete, CyberKnife patients complete their therapy in one to five sessions and are able to avoid surgery altogether.
CyberKnife is the only radiation delivery system that incorporates the Synchrony® Respiratory Management System technology with a rotating robotic arm. This means that during treatment, the robotic arm adjusts to motion so you can breathe freely while radiation stays precisely targeted on your tumor. Other treatments often require you to hold your breath or control your breathing.
Also, because it is completely robotic, CyberKnife can deliver uniquely angled radiation beams from nearly any direction, targeting deep seated tumors that may otherwise be difficult to target, while minimizing radiation to nearby healthy organs and tissues.
Other advantages include:
- No incisions
- No pain
- No anesthesia
- No hospitalization
- Reduce radiation exposure to healthy tissue
- Shorter course of therapy
- Few short- and long-term side effects
- Little or no recovery time
- Immediate return to daily activities
Is CyberKnife Right for Me?
Doctors assess a variety of factors to help determine if CyberKnife or another treatment option is the best option:
- Location and size of the tumor
- The patient’s health and risks of surgery
- Previous surgeries and/or radiation therapy
- The patient’s desire to avoid surgery
Most patients experience minimal side effects with CyberKnife. Your radiation oncology physician will discuss what to expect during treatment.
Advanced Features Make CyberKnife Appropriate for More Patients
In 2013, the Ann B. Barshinger Cancer Institute became the first hospital in the U.S. to offer the CyberKnife M6 radiosurgery system. Treatment capabilities expanded even further with an upgrade that included the InCise™ Multileaf Collimator. This device is made up of individual “leaves” that can move independently in and out of the radiation beam to alter its intensity and shape allowing for even more precise treatments.
In 2019, the Cancer Institute became the first in the world to implement VOLO TPS, a CyberKnife software upgrade allowing treatments to be planned and delivered faster and with greater accuracy. Thousands of patients have been safely and successfully treated on the Ann B. Barshinger Cancer Institute CyberKnife since installation.