Cancer treatments have seen exponential growth in recent years. Thanks to the development of imaging technology and radiosurgery devices, doctors can now detect and treat cancer cells more accurately and more effectively.
CyberKnife system is one such device used in radiation therapy that has seen a considerable amount of success. CyberKnife is proven effective in treating lung, brain, spine, head and neck, liver, pancreas, kidney, and prostate cancer.
What is CyberKnife?
CyberKnife system is a non-invasive radiation treatment used to detect and treat cancer cells and noncancerous tumor growth. It is a healthier, safer alternative to the existing radiation therapy that may lead to future complications.
CyberKnife leverages the Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT) that locates a tumor in its relation to the 3D space. The device uses a linear accelerator (LINAC), a robotic arm, and an image guidance system to focus high doses of radiation on a particular place. The robot moves at different angles and uses the real-time image data to concentrate on the exact location, leading to sub-millimetric accuracy.
Who is suitable for treatment with the CyberKnife?
CyberKnife is suitable for the following patients with prostate cancer:
- Localized prostate cancer (T1 or T2).
- Gleason score up to seven and PSA less than 20.
- No severe urinary symptoms or previous TURP (you will need to be able to manage without going to the toilet for 30 minutes to one hour during treatment). If you are unsure how severe your urinary symptoms are, try this IPSS symptom score. Men scoring more than 20 would be considered severe and not suitable for CyberKnife treatment.
- Small to medium size of prostate.
CyberKnife is not suitable if:
- you have artificial hips on both sides, but may be possible if on one side only;
- you have any medical condition or an implant that prohibits having a MRI scan.
How can CyberKnife help you?
The biggest reason for CyberKnife’s popularity is its convenience. CyberKnife is designed as a better alternative to the existing, often painful radiosurgery that can leave a lasting impact on the patient’s body.
- Cancer cells or tumors in parts like the prostate tend to move frequently. The CyberKnife system is incredibly precise in its treatment. The Synchrony technology adapts to the movements and targets the location directly.
- Radiotherapy can take a toll on the patients’ physical and mental health since everyone has a unique condition. CyberKnife doesn’t employ any anesthetic or surgical method, and it is completely non-invasive.
- Most radiotherapy treatments last for several weeks and require multiple visits. CyberKnife treatment can be completed in just 4-5 sessions over 1-2 weeks. Each session lasts less than an hour. Studies often show that high energy radiation beams geared towards a shorter treatment span help in better results.
- The CyberKnife system simplifies prostate cancer treatment. It is an outpatient procedure, so you don’t need to be hospitalized for this. You can just lie on the RoboCouch Patient Positioning System, and your surgeon, the robotic arm, will take care of the rest. Patients can go on with their lives without worrying about post-treatment issues.
Are there any side effects?
Thanks to its ability to work precisely, the CyberKnife for prostate cancer is actually safer than other options. The accuracy helps in preventing sexual, urinary, or bowel complications. But it is possible for radiation treatments to come with a few minor and temporary side effects. These include, however, not limited to:
- Fecal and urinary urgency
- Fecal and urinary incontinence
- Hemorrhoid, rectal bleeding
- Erectile dysfunction
- Blood in stool
CyberKnife system offers a precise yet comfortable treatment. But before you opt for this, you need to consult experts regarding the proper course of action, the procedure, the expected result, and the risks involved.