5 Things to Know about CyberKnife Stereotactic Radiosurgery

Friday, January 6, 2017

Stereotactic Radiosurgery is a non-invasive, non-surgical treatment that delivers very high doses of radiation therapy in a very precise fashion.  The sub-millimeter accuracy of CyberKnife, which cannot be achieved with conventional radiotherapy, minimizes the damage to the surrounding normal tissues.  Stereotactic Radiosurgery (SRS) refers to the use of radiosurgery for lesions in the brain while Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy (SBRT) refers to the use of radiosurgery for lesions in the rest of the body.  Here are five things that you should know about treatment with CyberKnife SRS or SBRT at the Alaska CyberKnife Center at Providence Cancer Center:

1. Clinical outcomes are similar to surgery, but with fewer side effects.  For decades, surgery has been the standard of care treatment, but the technological advances seen with CyberKnife are quickly changing the paradigm.  In many clinical situations, CyberKnife has local control and effectiveness that is equivalent to surgery.  However, due to its non-invasive nature, the risk of side effects is significantly lower with CyberKnife.

2. Real-time tumor tracking results in less radiation to the nearby normal tissues.  In any situation where the tumor may move during treatment, gold fiducials (markers) may be implanted into the tumor.  During treatment, the CyberKnife tracks the movement of the markers to account for changes in the position of the tumor.  The real-time tumor tracking and high degree of precision allows for a much smaller safety margin to be placed around the tumor, which results in less radiation to the surrounding healthy tissues compared to other treatment machines.

3. The CyberKnife is extremely versatile.  While the CyberKnife was initially created to treat lesions in the brain, its use has expanded to treat lesions in the spine, lung, liver, pancreas, kidney, prostate and bone.  For lesions in the brain that are inoperable, complex or are larger than 3 cm, the CyberKnife can deliver multiple treatments (compared to a single treatment with other radiosurgery machines), resulting in better control of the tumor and a lower risk of side effects.

4. The CyberKnife is extremely convenient.  Unlike surgery, which requires hospitalization and recovery time, the non-invasive nature of CyberKnife allows for outpatient treatments and an immediate return to your normal activities.  Additionally, unlike conventional radiotherapy treatments which can take up to 9 weeks or surgery which can require up to 10 weeks of recovery time, treatment with CyberKnife is completed in a week or less. Each CyberKnife treatment takes 20-60 minutes, depending upon the complexity of the radiosurgery plan.

5. You will receive the level of expertise on par with major academic centers.  As the only physician fellowship trained in Stereotactic Radiosurgery and Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy in the state of Alaska, I can provide you with the level of care and expertise that you would receive at major academic centers in the Lower 48.  During my fellowship at Yale, I completed over 300 cases of SRS and SBRT while working with some of the world’s experts and learning the latest advances in radiosurgery. Additionally, I worked extensively with Neurosurgeons, Thoracic Surgeons, Surgical Oncologists, Urologists, Interventional Radiologists and Medical Oncologists in a multi-disciplinary fashion to gain an understanding of the best treatment approach for each individual patient depending on the clinical situation.  As a result of my extensive training, I can give a fair, objective recommendation backed by scientific data as to the treatment course that would be best for each individual patient.  In certain situations, I recommend CyberKnife or conventional radiotherapy and in other situations, I recommend that patients undergo surgery depending on the clinical situation.

The CyberKnife is just one of the many tools available to us at Anchorage Associates in Radiation Medicine. We offer the widest range of treatment options and the most locations in the state of Alaska, allowing us to deliver the best treatment for each individual patient near the comforts of home.

To schedule an appointment or to learn more about the Alaska CyberKnife Center at Providence Cancer Center, please call us at (907) 312-2112 or visit our website at www.alaskacyberknife.com.