CyberKnife vs. Traditional Radiation for Prostate Cancer: What to Know

by | Nov 9, 2022 | CyberKnife Treatment For Prostate Cancer

When it comes to radiation for prostate cancer remember this: Not all treatments are the same.  

There are distinct advantages with one form of external beam radiation called Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy, known as (SBRT). This is the type of radiation used by the experts at the CyberKnife Center of Miami. But more on that later. 

First, let’s talk about radiation in general. Radiation is a powerful tool used to fight prostate cancer. It has a proven track record of safety and an excellent cure rate. It can be used for early-stage cancers, and cure rates are about the same for those men as they are with surgery. It can also be used for cancers that have metastasized outside the prostate, or if the cancer recurs. Finally, it’s used for advanced-stages of prostate cancer too.  

When doctors talk about radiation for prostate cancer, it can fall into one of three categories, according to the American Cancer Society: Internal Radiation, External Beam Radiation and Radiopharmceuticals.

Internal Radiation: Doctors place small radioactive pellets or seeds into the prostate to destroy the cancer. This treatment is used for men with early-stage, slow growing cancers. It can also be combined with external radiation for men with a greater risk of the cancer spreading.

External Beam Radiation Therapy: This radiation is focused on the prostate gland from outside the body. There are several types of external radiation, including CyberKnife. 

Radiopharmceuticals: These are medications containing radiation that are injected into the body.

CyberKnife vs. Traditional Radiation for Prostate Cancer

With traditional or conventional external radiation, a patient receives treatments five days a week for a total of 35 to 45 treatments, according to the Prostate Cancer Foundation. With moderate hypo-fractionation radiation, which delivers a higher dose of radiation than conventional radiation, there are 20 treatments over four weeks.  

But with SBRT, or CyberKnife, there are only five sessions because while the dose of radiation is stronger, it’s highly targeted.  However, decades of research shows there is also a much lower risk of toxicity with CyberKnife than with traditional radiation.  

“The radiation beams are very, very precise,” explains Dr. Mark Pomper, radiation oncologist and medical director of CyberKnife Miami in a YouTube video. “CyberKnife technology targets the tumor with pinpoint accuracy, and the missile guided arm follows that tumor should the prostate move while the patient is undergoing treatment. The radiation beams always stay right on its target, so the risk of damaging surrounding healthy tissue or organs is basically null.”  

That pinpoint accuracy also allows CyberKnife to kill prostate cancer while reducing the risk of side effects caused by other types of traditional treatments.The radiation from CyberKnife focuses solely on the tumor without harming nearby vital structures.That greatly reduces the risk of impotence and urinary incontinence, which so many men understandably fear. We are happy to report, sexual function remains the same for most patients after CyberKnife treatment.  

According to the maker of CyberKnife other benefits include:

  • Excellent long-term cancer control
  • Non-invasive
  • Patients continue normal activities during treatment

Side effects of CyberKnife may include tiredness, and urinary and rectal irritation.  Over the counter medication can help reduce them, and they tend to go away within a few days or weeks.

Dr. Pomper says the cure rate for prostate cancer with CyberKnife is 98-percent.

CyberKnife Therapy for Prostate Cancer

CyberKnife has been used worldwide to successfully treat hundreds of thousands of prostate cancer cases.

At the CyberKnife Center of Miami, we treat prostate cancer patients from around the country, the world and right here in Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach and Monroe counties. 

Our staff is available to answer any of your questions. If you would like to find out more about prostate cancer treatment with CyberKnife, call us at 305-279-2900 or go to our prostate cancer website now for more information.