Undergoing conventional radiation treatment for prostate cancer can be a grueling and uncomfortable experience. However, if you’re concerned about what to expect when undergoing CyberKnife radiotherapy, you can put your mind at ease. That’s because CyberKnife is noninvasive, pain-free, comfortable, and only requires 1 – 5 visits to complete the course of treatment.
Unlike conventional radiation, the CyberKnife system – also known as The Beam of Life – uses a robotic arm to deliver high doses of radiation to a tumor with pinpoint accuracy so as not to affect any surrounding tissue or organs. The entire procedure is overseen by a team of highly trained radiation oncologists, surgeons, medical physicists, and radiation therapists who make the experience as simple and relaxing as possible.
Here’s what you can expect from the typical CyberKnife prostate cancer treatment:
1. Before your CyberKnife treatment, you’ll meet with a radiation oncologist and surgeon to determine if the therapy is your best option. You may need to undergo some testing, such as a PET scan, CT scan, bone scan, blood work, biopsy, or hearing tests before beginning the planning stage. In some cases, a marker is placed in or near the tumor to enable the CyberKnife system to track the tumor’s motion within the prostate. Likewise, during a CT scan, a CyberKnife therapist may create special devices to assist in treatment delivery.
2. Data acquired from a high-resolution CT, MRI, or PET/CT scan is downloaded to the CyberKnife treatment-planning computer, where the medical physicist, radiation oncologist, and surgeon use advanced software to create a customized treatment plan, a procedure that can take up to five days to complete. This is done to determine the size, shape, and location of any tumors, the right radiation dosage treatment angles, and which critical organs to avoid during treatment.
3. Once your individual treatment plan is developed and you arrive for your first CyberKnife session, our doctors will prepare you for treatment by positioning you on a comfortable treatment table instead of a restrictive and uncomfortable immobilization device, which is often the case with conventional radiation therapy. This way, you’ll be able to relax while the CyberKnife’s robotic arm moves slowly around you.
4. In addition to using the data obtained in your original planning scans, the CyberKnife system will take real-time images of your tumors, allowing the system to accurately track even the slightest movement. Meanwhile, the robotic arm will deliver radiation to the tumor from virtually every angle. If your body moves (for example, due to breathing), the robotic arm will make immediate adjustments, keeping the radiation beams focused on its target with sub-millimeter accuracy, thus preventing any damage to healthy tissue.
5. Depending on the type of tumor and the area being treated, each CyberKnife treatment session will usually last between 30 and 60 minutes. Because the CyberKnife system is so accurate in delivering high doses of radiation to your tumors, the entire course of treatment requires only 1 – 5 sessions, as opposed the 25 – 40 treatments necessary with low doses of conventional radiation therapy.
At the CyberKnife Center of Miami, we understand what you’re going through and assist you every step of the way. We are always available to answer any questions or concerns you might have and strive to make your treatment experience as comfortable and efficient as possible. Our goal is to helplive longer, healthier lives and maintain their quality of life while undergoing treatment and beyond.
Call today to see if you or a loved one is a candidate for the Beam of Life. Call us at (800) 204-0455 or contact us using our online form. And for more information on CyberKnife Miami, please visit our website at www.cyberknifemiami.com.