The challenge that doctors face with tumors in the lung is that those tumors move as the patient breathes. Radiosurgery devices, such as the CyberKnife® Robotic Radiosurgery System, offer patients a new option for the treatment of lung cancer. Unlike traditional radiation therapy, the CyberKnife System precisely identifies the tumor location as the patient breathes normally during treatment and can be used, in some cases, to treat lung tumors non-invasively.
Lung cancer treatment with the CyberKnife System involves a team approach, in which several specialists participate. The patient’s team may include:
a thoracic surgeon
a radiation oncologist
an interventional radiologist
a medical physicist
a radiation therapist
medical support staff
For most patients, the CyberKnife treatment is a completely pain-free experience. They may dress comfortably in street clothes and the CyberKnife center may allow the patient to bring music to listen to during the treatment. The patient also may want to bring something to read or listen to during any waiting time, and be accompanied by a friend or family member to provide support before and after treatment.
When it is time for treatment, the patient will be asked to put on their vest and lie on their custom body cradle. The radiation therapist will ensure the vest is properly adjusted and that the patient is positioned correctly on the treatment couch.
As treatment begins, the location of the lung tumor will be tracked and detected continually as the patient breathes normally. The medical team will be watching every step of the way as the CyberKnife tracks the patient’s lung tumor as it moves, and safely and precisely delivers radiation to it.
The CyberKnife System’s computer-controlled robot will move around the patient’s body to various locations from which it will deliver radiation. At each position, the robot will stop. Then, special software will determine precisely where the radiation should be delivered by correlating breathing motion with the tumor. Nothing will be required of the patient during treatment, except to relax and lie as still as possible.
Once treatment is complete, most patients quickly return to their daily routines with little interruption to their normal activities. If treatment is being delivered in stages, the patient will need to return for additional treatments over the next several days as determined by their doctors. After CyberKnife treatments, most patients experience minimal side effects, which typically go away within the first week or two after treatment. Doctors will discuss all possible side effects prior to treatment. In addition, doctors may prescribe medication to control any side effects, should they occur.
For more information about CyberKnife treatment, please call (561) 263-4400.