The challenge that doctors face in treating prostate tumors with radiation therapy is that the prostate moves unpredictably throughout the course of treatment. The goal of radiation therapy is to target the tumor and avoid unnecessary irradiation of surrounding healthy tissue. The CyberKnife Robotic Radiosurgery System is able to overcome this challenge by continuously identifying the exact location of the prostate and making active corrections for any movement of the prostate throughout the course of the treatment. During treatment, a patient lays still and breathes normally while the CyberKnife zeroes in on a moving target – the prostate – and irradiates it without harming surrounding areas. As a result, the procedure is more comfortable for patients, radiation is delivered more accurately and treatments can be completed in four to five days.
Currently the CyberKnife Radiosurgery System is most frequently used by itself for patients with early stage prostate cancer confined to the prostate or in combination with another therapy, such as external beam radiation for patients with disease that extends beyond the prostate. Depending on the stage of the patient’s prostate cancer the doctor will recommend a treatment plan.
Prostate cancer treatment with the CyberKnife System involves a team approach, in which several specialists participate. A team may include:
a radiation oncologist
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 patients to bring music to listen to during the treatment. Patients also may want to bring something to read or listen to during any waiting time, and have a friend or family member with them to provide support before and after treatment.
When it is time for treatment, 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) 263-4328.