Cyberknife treatment makes it possible to treat cancer patients without making incisions. It is the next big thing in the field of cancer treatment.

Cyberknife treatment is the world’s first robotic radiosurgery system. It practically involves no cutting and is much more efficient and precise than the conventional radiation therapies. Cyberknife is a non-invasive alternative cancer treatment option for patients with either cancerous or non-cancerous tumors in any part of the body.

The development of cyberknife is an important breakthrough in the field of medical science. Not only it helps treat the cancer throughout the body in much less time, but it also lets the patients avoid the agony of going under the knife. This article focuses on the reason why cyberknife treatment is the best treatment for cancer and how it has an edge over conventional radiation therapies.

Cancer Treatment Using Cyberknife System

People would have never imagined that one day they would actually have an option to get cancer treatment through a simple outpatient procedure. This has been made possible through cyberknife treatment, which requires no admission to the hospital, anesthesia or invasive tools to get rid of the tumors.

The following are the answers to the Top 13 questions that cancer patients may have about this pain-free and non-invasive cancer treatment.

What technology does cyberknife treatment use?

Cyberknife treatment makes use of a device called linear accelerator (Linac). This system has great tracking ability, which makes it possible for the oncologists to trace the origin of the cancerous or non-cancerous tumors precisely in different areas of the body.

Linac is attached to a robotic arm, which can access the affected region and deliver high-dose radiation. With the help of specialized software and high-quality imaging, the doctors are able to guide the robotic arm and deliver radiation with great accuracy.

This pain-free cancer treatment requires no incisions in the body of the patients and can be performed as an outpatient procedure.

What all types of cancer can be treated with the help of this technology?

Cyberknife treatment can be effectively used to treat both non-cancerous and cancerous tumors in the patients. The technology used in this treatment delivers high doses of radiation to tumors present anywhere in the body, including the brain, spine, lungs, liver, breasts, prostate, pancreas, neck and head.

Cyberknife treatment is, thus, the best treatment for cancer, especially for patients who plan to undergo non-surgical treatment for cancer. It can be effectively used to treat complex tumors as well, when it cannot be removed or treated surgically using conventional radiation therapies.

How is cyberknife different from other conventional cancer treatment procedures?

Apart from being a non-invasive, pain-free and anesthesia- free outpatient procedure, cyberknife treatment differs in multiple other ways from conventional cancer treatment procedures.

Movement of the patient and the internal organs is one of the main drawbacks of the radiation treatment. Thus, there are huge chances that the radiation ends up affecting other healthy organs and tissues as well.

For the same reason, clinicians often use immobilization techniques to reduce the movement during the conventional cancer treatment procedure. Use of body casts, metal frame for the skull, rectal balloons and abdominal compression are some of these immobilization techniques commonly used.

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Cyberknife treatment is a radiation treatment system that works by moving with the tumor during the procedure, thus minimizing the risk of other tissues getting exposed to the region. The high-dose and accurate radiation delivery system eliminates the need to use immobilization techniques during the procedure, thus reducing patient discomfort and the need for additional surgical procedures.

It allows patients to recover quickly and return back to their normal daily routine.

Why should I consider cyberknife treatment as an option?

More than a million patients around the world have already been treated successfully with the help of cyberknife technology. In addition, the use of this technology is approved by different state and federal health agencies across the globe.

Cyberknife treatment has an edge over the use of other cancer treatment procedures when it comes to success rate. A scientific study Accuray Incorporated suggests that more than 93 percent of the prostate cancer patients had no recurrence of cancer within the follow up period of five years, when treated with cyberknife technology.

Apart from being pain-free and non-invasive procedure with quick recovery time, cyberknife treatment also makes sure that the patient experiences minimal side effects. This can be attributed to the fact that cyberknife directly targets the tumor with high-dose radiation from multiple locations over a shorter duration of time, thus eliminating the chances of healthy tissues being affected during the procedure.

How accurate is this procedure?

Cyberknife treatment has unmatched accuracy when to pinpointing the exact location of the tumor– a feature which most of the radiosurgery systems for cancer treatment lack. tumors may move with bodily functions, and this makes it difficult to prevent side effects, in case of traditional cancer treatments.

Cyberknife treatment “tags” the tumor with high dose radiation from the nearest angle. The movement of the beams follows the movement of the tagged tumor, thus treating cancer in the most accurate way.

What happens during the procedure?

After thorough evaluation of the tumor, the medical team places gold markers near the tumor to identify the exact location. Next, a series of imaging tests are done to know the exact size and shape and accordingly a treatment plan is developed. The objective of this plan if to figure out the dose of radiation, the place where the radiation should be targeted and the areas that must be avoided to avoid radiation spread.

The patient is placed comfortably on a treatment table and the cyberknife robots move around the body of the patient to deliver radiation. The highly-efficient imaging system constantly tracks the location of the tumor, thus enabling the system to make any correction with respect to the radiation applied.

Can I undergo cyberknife treatment?

The team of medical experts handing the cyberknife treatment take the final decision whether you are eligible to take the treatment or not. Their decision may depend on several factors, including the size of the tumor, its location, type and the extent of its spread.

Cyberknife is an adaptable technology that can be used to treat early to advanced stages of cancerous and non-cancerous tumors. It can also be used in combination with other options such as surgery, radiation techniques and chemotherapy to treat the patient.

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How often would I require cyberknife treatment?

The number of cyberknife treatment sessions depends on the location, type and the size of the tumor being handled. Typically, one to five sessions can be conducted to remove the tumor. Additional tests and periodic imaging may be required by the doctors after the treatment to check for its effectiveness.

Can I undergo cyberknife treatment even If I have been on chemotherapy or radiation therapy?

It is absolutely okay for the patients who have had chemotherapy or radiation therapy treatment in the past to undergo cyberknife treatment. However, the patients should inform the physicians about their complete medical history, so that they take all the things into account while devising a treatment plan.

What is the recovery time?

A majority of patients who undergo cyberknife treatment for cancer do not experience any side effects at all. This enables them to recover quickly and return back to their normal routine in no time. However, the side effects may vary according to the extent of the treatment  and some patients may experience mild side effects.

Because no intervention is required to treat the side effects associated with cyberknife treatment, patients are able to recover within a week and carry on with their normal schedule.

What are the risks associated with cyberknife treatment?

The following minor side effects may appear in a few patients, however, they disappear within a few days of the treatment:

  • Rib pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Abdominal pain
  • Liver pain
  • Injury to targeted site

The patients should contact the doctor in case any of these symptoms persist for more than two weeks.

I am considering cyberknife treatment as an option, what should I do?

Patients should touch base with hospitals offering cyberknife treatment to find more information about the procedure. The medical team may start by making an evaluation of the tumor to assess its location, size and type.

Based on the evaluation, the team would decide whether cyberknife treatment is suitable for the type of cancer diagnosed or not, how many sitting are required and whether it needs to be performed in combination with other cancer treatment procedures.


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What is the cost of cyberknife treatment?

The cost may depend on the hospital, the location of the tumor and the type of cancer. Typically, cyberknife treatment may cost anywhere between $60,000 to $1,00,000 in the United States (excluding follow up costs). However, patients in the developed countries such as the US and the UK can save more than 70 percent of the cyberknife treatment cost by traveling to other countries such as India and Malaysia.

Thus, finding best hospitals for cyberknife treatment in medical tourism countries can help provide quality cancer care at reasonable costs.

Conclusion

It has been years since cyberknife treatment was first introduced to the world and since then, more than a million patients have been treated successfully. Cyberknife treatment has multiple benefits over traditional cancer treatment procedures, and is a reliable, non-invasive and painless method of getting rid of cancerous and non-cancerous tumors in a short duration of time.

References:

http://www.accuray.com/sites/default/files/500929.A_CyberKnife_Patient_Brochure_FINAL.pdf

http://www.cyberknife.com/cyberknife-overview/what-cyberknife.aspx?langtype=1033

http://www.accuray.com/pressroom/press-releases/first-five-year-outcomes-published-cyberknife-radiosurgery-prostate-cancer