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Cyberknife FAQ's

Targeted Treatment in the Fight Against Cancer

After or during your diagnoses, your physician will determine if you may benefit from the CyberKnife treatment. If you are a candidate, you can expect that your CyberKnife treatment(s) will involve a team approach in which several medical professionals will collaborate to develop a treatment plan designed just for you.

For more information, contact us at 240-566-4100.

How is the CyberKnife System® Unique?

The CyberKnife® System is a one-of-a-kind device for several reasons.

First, the CyberKnife System uses image guidance software to track and continually adjust treatment for any patient or tumor movement. This sets it far ahead of other similar treatments. It allows patients to breathe normally and relax comfortably during treatment.

Second, some forms of radiosurgery require rigid head-frames that are screwed into the patient’s skull to minimize any movement. The CyberKnife System does not require such extreme procedures to keep patients in place, and instead relies on sophisticated tracking software, allowing for a much more comfortable and non-invasive treatment.

Third, unlike some radiosurgery systems, which can only treat tumors in the head, the CyberKnife System has unlimited reach to treat a broad range of tumors throughout the body, including the prostate, lung, brain, spine, liver, pancreas, and kidney.

And finally, the CyberKnife System’s treatment accuracy is unrivaled. Its ability to treat tumors with pin-point accuracy is unmatched by other radiation therapy and radiosurgery systems. The CyberKnife System can essentially “paint” the tumor with radiation allowing it to precisely deliver treatment to the tumor alone, sparing surrounding healthy tissue.

What is the Treatment Process?

The CyberKnife treatment process generally requires six simple steps from start to finish:

  1. Evaluation - After being diagnosed, you can contact a CyberKnife center directly or have your treating doctor provide you with a referral. Though it may vary based on your specific treatment, you will likely work with a team of clinicians, including a radiation oncologist, surgeon, medical physicist, radiation technician and nurse coordinator.
  2. Fiducial Placement - Depending on the type and location of your tumor, your team may recommend placement of fiducials – which are small gold markers inserted near the tumor – to help identify the exact location of your tumor during treatment. Not all treatments require fiducial markers. The determination will be made based on the density, size and location of the tumor.
  3. Imaging - Prior to treatment, an MRI and a CT or CT/PET scan is taken to determine the size, shape and location of your tumor(s).
  4. Treatment Planning - Using images from a CT scan, the data is digitally transferred to the CyberKnife® System’s treatment planning workstation, where a qualified physician identifies the tumor(s) to be targeted and the surrounding vital structures to be avoided. This plan is designed to match the desired radiation dose to the tumor location and limit Radiation exposure to the surrounding healthy tissue.
  5. Treatment - Once the treatment plan is developed, you can begin your CyberKnife treatments. At the CyberKnife center, you will be comfortably positioned on the treatment table. Then the CyberKnife System’s computer-controlled robot will carefully move around you to deliver radiation at various locations as prescribed by your treatment plan. At the same time, the CyberKnife System is taking continual X-ray images that will provide real-time information about the location of your tumor and enable the system to dynamically track and correct for any movement of your tumor. Depending on the type and location of your tumor, you can expect to undergo between one and five treatment sessions.
  6. Recovery - Most CyberKnife patients do not experience side effects. Depending on the type of treatment you receive, your side effects will vary. Patients that do experience side effects are typically mild and considered acute and do not require intervention. Patients should speak to their doctor and discuss what side effects may occur and learn about potential risks.

Are there any side effects?

CyberKnife® patients routinely report that they have no side effects or minimal side effects from their treatment, and in most cases, they can immediately return to their normal daily activities. Speak with your doctor about possible side effects you may encounter.

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