ETMC can offer CyberKnife when surgery is not an option

ETMC Tyler has the only CyberKnife system between Dallas and Houston offering stereotactic body radiation therapy and stereotactic radiosurgery.

The CyberKnife is a linear accelerator mounted on a robot instead of a gantry, permitting the beam to swing around and be pointed at the patient from nearly any angle. This capability makes it so precise that it can target and destroy even a small, complex-shaped tumor with submillimeter accuracy. In effect, the device surgically removes the tumor with high doses of radiation.

Furthermore, CyberKnife corrects for even slight patient movement – such as breathing – during the treatment. Because it is so precise and powerful, CyberKnife often can destroy tumors in fewer treatments than intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), which otherwise would be standard treatment.

CyberKnife can be used as a noninvasive alternative to attack tumors in the head, chest, spine, abdomen – virtually anywhere in the body. Often CyberKnife offers a way to treat patients when surgery is not possible.

Treating cancer in the prostate and lung

The ETMC Cancer Institute offers CyberKnife stereotactic radiosurgery treatment for prostate cancer to patients who are appropriate candidates. The standard of care for those patients has been to receive 40 treatments of intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) delivered over a period of eight weeks. By contrast, CyberKnife treatments can be completed in four sessions, given every other day, with side effects that are typically minimal. Studies confirm that the four-session CyberKnife treatment is just as effective as the 40-session IMRT.

content-cancer-pushkar-headshot“If the patient is a person with a very busy lifestyle, he can be done with his prostate therapy in a week, so that’s a huge incentive.”

– Pushkar Desai, MS, medical physicist

The submillimeter accuracy of CyberKnife also makes it appropriate for treating certain lung cancers. One example would be a patient with poor respiratory function (say, a longtime smoker) who has lung cancer in only one site. Another category would be a lung cancer patient with a recurrence in an area of lung that has been weakened by previous radiation. The CyberKnife lets the physician target the cancer while protecting the patient.

content-cancer-weathers-headshot“Because the CyberKnife is so precise and limits the affected normal lung tissue so much, we can go back and re-treat that cancer with CyberKnife radiosurgery.”

– Misty Weathers, RN, ETMC CyberKnife coordinator