A painless, non-invasive robotic radiosurgery system used for treating benign and malignant tumors. CyberKnife is able to target difficult to reach or inoperable tumors, without an incision or use of a scalpel.
Stereotactic radiation therapy is a radiation treatment technique in which high doses of radiation are delivered using very precise beams or a moving beam of radiation focused on the tumor. The beam(s) are very narrow, so that a very high amount of radiation is delivered to a precise area in the pancreas. The aim is to use such a high dose that the tumor is destroyed, while sparing healthy tissue. The radiation from the CyberKnife machine is the same type used in standard external beam radiation machines.
Conventional radiation therapy is an alternative for patients who are not medically fit for surgery and can control the cancer locally 90-95% of time in most patients.
First, physicians identify the location and size of the tumor. Then, the patient is fitted with a special custom-molded body cradle that conforms to the body. It is used to make treatments consistent from treatment to treatment. The patient wears a special vest that allows the robot delivering the radiation. The vest generates data that allows the robot to closely follow the tumor’s motion as the radiation is delivered. While the patient is in the cradle, live X-ray images pinpoint the exact size, shape and location of the tumor.
The treatment usually is completed in one to five sessions. During treatments, the robot moves around the patient’s body to deliver radiation in various locations. The robot stops at each location. Software determines where the radiation should be delivered by correlating breathing motion with the tumor. Treatments take about one hour each.
Most who undergo CyberKnife treatment for pancreatic cancer experience minimal side effects and recover quickly. Fatigue is the most frequently reported side effect. The treatment itself is pain-free. Patients are advised that their tumors will not suddenly disappear and that it may take months to determine the effectiveness of the treatment.