If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with brain cancer, it doesn’t have to be the scariest thing you’ve ever experienced. Knowing the facts about brain tumors and knowing that there are several successful treatment options out there can bring you a little more peace of mind.
Of the more than 77,500 people who will be diagnosed with a primary brain tumor this year, approximately 68% of them will be benign, or not cancerous. However, even benign tumors must be treated if they interfere with parts of your brain that control your important bodily functions.
No matter what type of tumor you are diagnosed with, or whether it’s a primary tumor originating in your brain, or cancer that has metastasized to your brain from another area, diagnosing early and compiling the best treatment options is very important.
One of the treatment options you should consider is the CyberKnife Radiosurgery System. Whether it’s used as an alternative to surgery, or in conjunction with other treatments, CyberKnife is bringing new hope to the people of Anchorage and the surrounding areas.
CyberKnife is one of the most advanced radiation therapy tools available to cancer patients today, with a clinically proven record of success. The CyberKnife System uses a sophisticated image guidance system to beam high doses of radiation directly to your tumor while you lay on a comfortable treatment couch. Its real-time image guidance system continually verifies and corrects for the slightest patient or tumor movement beaming high doses of radiation directly to your tumor in just one to five short treatments.
CYBERKNIFE AS AN ALTERNATIVE TO SURGERY
Surgery is often a chosen treatment method for brain cancer to remove as much of the tumor as possible and thereby eliminating the symptoms. However, there are some tumors which cannot be reached without significant risk of damaging parts of the brain. And, there are tumors that have grown so large they are more intertwined with parts of the brain. There are also patients who may not be healthy enough to undergo the trauma of surgery. And, there are those who simply refuse to take the risks of surgery.
For these cases, the CyberKnife System can help. CyberKnife’s robotic arm can reach inoperable tumors and beam high-doses of radiation directly to the spot at numerous angles to kill the cancerous cells. There is no risk of surgery or anesthesia use and there are very few side effects. CyberKnife treatment is comfortable and allows patients to be treated on an outpatient basis.
CYBERKNIFE AS A PARTNER WITH SURGERY OR OTHER TREATMENTS
If you have a more advanced type of brain tumor, there will usually be additional treatments after surgery intended to ensure all of the cancerous cells are gone, to prevent cancer from recurring, and to prolong and improve life as long as possible. Along with chemotherapy and clinical trials, the CyberKnife System is used in conjunction with surgery to treat brain cancer.
The specialists at Alaska CyberKnife Center work closely with the patient’s neurosurgeon to determine where CyberKnife may best serve as a role in their treatment. Together, they consider your quality of life during and after treatment. Treatment with the CyberKnife System can often enhance this quality of life.
Unlike other radiosurgery treatments such as Gamma Knife, CyberKnife eliminates the need for stereotactic head frames to be bolted to your head. Instead, CyberKnife only needs a fitted mesh mask, along with its robotic arm and sophisticated imaging and software capabilities, to insure submillimeter accuracy as it tracks the exact location of your tumor. It even adjusts its radiation beams as you breathe. By treating only the cancerous cells and limiting exposure to healthy tissue, CyberKnife will leave you with few side effects and the ability to return to your normal activities in only a few hours.
WHAT IS SPECIAL ABOUT CYBERKNIFE BRAIN CANCER TREATMENT?
- The procedure is non-invasive, requiring no anesthesia, and no cutting.
- The flexibility of the robotic arm allows your Anchorage oncologist to direct multiple beams of radiation to attack cancerous cells from any angle. In this way, the radiation reaches the exact size and shape of your tumor and leaves surrounding healthy cells and critical structures alone.
- Unlike other stereotactic radiation systems, such as Gamma Knife, CyberKnife offers submillimeter accuracy with real time imaging and software using only a fitted, comfortable mesh mask instead of bolting your head to a heavy, metal rigid frame.
- Using a combination of your initial CT, MRI or PET scan images, your advance CT simulation scans, and your real-time tumor location at time of treatment, the CyberKnife software and imaging systems ensure radiation is directed in optimum doses to the precise location of your tumor, following even its slightest movements and attacking and killing the cancerous cells.
- CyberKnife Radiosurgical treatments may be given in just one short 15 to 30-minute visit to the Alaska CyberKnife Center, but unlike the Gamma Knife, can be done two to five times when clinically necessary. Gamma Knife is a full day of imaging, mounting the head frame, treatment planning, and treatment.
- Side-effects are extremely minimal and you are back to your regular activity within an hour or two of your treatment. CyberKnife treatment does not require an overnight stay at the hospital.
For cancer patients with inoperable or hard-to-reach tumors, those who may not be physically able to withstand surgery, or those needing a collaborative treatment option, CyberKnife provides a new hope for fighting cancer. For more information about our radiation oncologists, or to answer any of your questions, contact us in our Anchorage office at (907) 312-2112. We believe it is important to review each individual case and make sure that our patients understand our CyberKnife process completely. We look forward to showing you how the CyberKnife System could be the treatment you need.