What to Expect After CyberKnife Treatment for Prostate Cancer

by | Jun 15, 2024 | Prostate Cancer Treatment

CyberKnife – a non-invasive state-of-the-art form of radiation — offers patients a pain free and effective surgical alternative for prostate cancer treatment. The best part: Most patients can carry on with their regular activities during and after treatment.

However, the experts at the CyberKnife Center of Miami, a premiere CyberKnife center in South Florida, want you to understand that though treatment is pain free, and many patients experience only mild to no side effects, you may experience some discomfort or irregularities during or right after treatment that typically go away within, days or weeks with medications, and often over-the-counter medications.

To understand why you might have side effects, let’s first understand the CyberKnife process itself. 

CyberKnife is cutting-edge radiation technology also known as stereotactic body radiation therapy or SBRT. It kills prostate tumors with precise, pinpointed accuracy, and it leaves the surrounding healthy tissue unharmed. Most likely you will need five treatments with CyberKnife, each lasting about forty minutes.

What to Expect During CyberKnife Treatment for Prostate Cancer

When you come to CyberKnife Miami, our team works together with you to develop a treatment plan just for your particular needs. We help you prepare for the procedure, so you’ll know exactly what to expect from start to finish. 

That’s because when you lie down on the CyberKnife treatment table and the system’s robotic arm starts to move around you, we want you to know what is happening and why, so you can relax. That’s all that’s expected of you.   

Even before we begin treatment, we take data from your prior scans to map out your therapy plan. 

As the CyberKnife moves around you, it takes real-time images of the tumor and tracks it during the entire time you’re being treated. That means if you move, even subtly, so does the CyberKnife’s robotic arm. That in turn keeps the high doses of radiation targeted directly at your prostate – lowering the risk of damage to healthy surrounding tissue and vital organs.

However, your cancer is still being treated with radiation. That means you may still experience some discomfort during and after treatment.

CyberKnife Treatment for Prostate Cancer: Potential Side Effects

“Most radiation side effects are minimal and last only a short time. Side effects can, however, sometimes be severe because of rectum or bladder wall exposure to radiation,” according to Accuray, the maker of CyberKnife.

Those side effects include constipation, rectal bleeding, fecal urgency or incontinence, urinary frequency or incontinence, urgency, or blood in the urine.  Some patients also experience sexual dysfunction.

“Despite the higher dose rate associated with SBRT, multiple studies have validated that there are no worse side effects with CyberKnife SBRT than with traditional radiation,” Accuray says.

Keep in mind, it is unlikely that you will lose your hair or that CyberKnife will burn your skin during prostate cancer treatment.

One Patient’s Story: Sex During CyberKnife Treatment

When Peter, a marketing and communications executive, was diagnosed with prostate cancer, his goal was to find the least invasive, most practical treatment for him. He talked to about 30 experts from around the United States before settling on CyberKnife. 

As a newlywed he says sexual function was extremely important to him.

“In the spirit of my wife, on the second day of my treatment she said let’s see if the CyberKnife is having any impact,” Peter explains with a smile and bit of a blush. “We made love on the second day of my treatment. Boy was that a reaffirming day.  It really was,” he said.

However, Peter continues to say that after his third day of treatment he had some difficulty with urination. While his doctors prescribed him medication, he never needed it. The situation resolved on its own, he said.

However, for other patients who may experience symptoms talking to your doctor is key to minimizing any side effects. There are ways to relieve symptoms.

As for the CyberKnife treatment itself, Peter says his decision was right for him.

“I feel like I made absolutely the right call here,” says Peter.

CyberKnife Miami: What to Expect during Prostate Cancer Treatment

With CyberKnife treatment there are much tighter margins on the prostate than with traditional radiation, which helps to reduce side effects, according to Dr. Mark Pomper, the medical director of CyberKnife Miami and board-certified radiation oncologist.

Other advantages:

  • The cure rate with CyberKnife for prostate cancer is about 98%.
  • It’s noninvasive. 
  • There is no anesthesia or cutting.  
  • There are no risks of surgery like infection and long periods of downtime.
  • CyberKnife’s treatments can be done in five therapy sessions over 10 days instead of 42 over three months with other types of radiation treatments.

Bottomline – the benefits of CyberKnife far outweigh the risks and side effects. That’s why it’s proving to be the gold standard of treatment for prostate cancer, and many types of cancer.

Every patient should be told about CyberKnife or should know about it. But many still don’t even though hundreds of thousands of patients worldwide have been treated with it. 

Unfortunately, if your doctor doesn’t know about CyberKnife, or if their cancer center doesn’t use this superior technology, they may not tell you about it. Patients must educate themselves about all treatment options and ask their doctors tough questions, like is CyberKnife for me?

If you are told CyberKnife is not right for you, find the nearest CyberKnife center and get their expert opinion. Chances are, you are a candidate for this kinder, gentler treatment. If you’re not, the CyberKnife team will tell you, and they will even advise you on the best treatment option for you. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Do yourself a big favor, if you are diagnosed with prostate cancer, call CyberKnife Miami to set up a consultation. They’ll give you straight answers. We’re at 305-279-2900 or go to our prostate cancer website now for more information. www.cyberknifemiami.com