"You have a tumor."
When you hear news like this, everything changes. What are your options? Are you a candidate for treatment? Which treatment? Will it be effective? What are the risks? How will all this affect your life?
The answers to these questions may be different from what they once were, because radiosurgery has revolutionized cancer treatment.
Radiosurgery - which isn't surgery at all - is an excellent alternative treatment for tumors. It destroys tumors with highly precise beams of radiation... quickly, painlessly, without the use of a scalpel, cutting, or hospital stays. The revolution is that, with CyberKnife, Radiation Oncologists now treat tumors virtually anywhere in the body. This includes tumors once considered untreatable and even patients who've been told they are ineligible for other forms treatment.
What is radiosurgery?
The word "radiosurgery" means radiation surgery. But it isn't surgery. It is extremely precise beams of radiation that destroy tumor cells. For many decades, radiation therapy has been used to shrink tumors prior to surgery, following surgery to eliminate residual cancer cells, in combination with chemotherapy and as a stand-alone treatment for certain cancers. In 1967, radiosurgery was introduced, and this more powerful and precise radiation treatment has been used successfully ever since.
What is CyberKnife?
While radiosurgery has been a proven, effective treatment for the past four decades, technological limitations have restricted its use to treatment of tumors in the head. CyberKnife is the first radiosurgery system to enable physicians to treat tumors anywhere in the body. It's also the first system to track a tumor's true position throughout treatment, providing the sub millimeter precision needed to avoid irradiating normal and critical tissues. CyberKnife can even maintain its accuracy for tumors that move with respiration, such as lung tumors.
Why should I consider CyberKnife?
Some tumors are inoperable, and certain patients aren't eligible for surgery. But CyberKnife's precision makes it possible to treat these people - with excellent results. It's also a potential option for people who are ineligible for conventional radiation therapy.
CyberKnife may even be preferred for patients and tumors treatable with other methods. That's because, with CyberKnife, we can often achieve equal or better results... without chemotherapy, surgery, incision, blood loss, anesthesia, recovery time, pain or a hospital stay. Most patients just get up and go back to their regular activities.
How does CyberKnife work?
The keys to CyberKnife's versatility and accuracy are its imaging capabilities and its range of motion.
"Seeing" the tumor. CyberKnife takes X-ray images throughout treatment to determine the tumor's position. If it moves, the CyberKnife moves in response, maintaining its precision. Other systems work only from pre-treatment images and are unaware of the tumor's actual position during treatment.
Maintaining accuracy and sparing healthy tissues, the CyberKnife can bend, turn, tilt or swivel. This enables CyberKnife to move in response to the tumor's position and treat virtually anywhere in the body. CyberKnife's range of motion also makes it possible for doctors to treat a tumor from many different angles, minimizing exposure to healthy tissue and critical structures.
Improving your life during treatment.
Traditional forms of treatment can have a negative impact on your life. Surgery involves prep, incisions, scarring, recovery time, pain and a hospital stay. There's also risk of blood loss, infection and complications. Chemotherapy has side effects ranging from nausea, diarrhea and hair loss to fatigue, depression, reduced immunity and more. Radiotherapy, which involves many weeks of treatments, also has side effects.
CyberKnife, however, requires only one to five treatment sessions. It's painless and lasts only 30-90 minutes, and there's no anesthesia, incision or downtime. Afterward, you just get up and go live your life. The CyberKnife truly gives people a new hope in cancer treatment.