A new article that was published yesterday on CNNmoney.com is talking about Cyberknife and its effectiveness in treating prostate cancer. They announced yesterday that more then a 1000 men have now been treated with their Cyberknife technoology for prostate cancer.
In a former blog of mine, I discuss more about what is Cyberknife, and how it works. You can find that post in my Archives, or follow this link: Cyberknife. In my article discussing Cyberknife I did not spend a lot of time talking about its use in the treatment of prostate cancer.
The spokesman from Accuray, the maker of Cyberknife made the statement, “More and more patients are turning to the Internet to find information on their cancer treatment options. And because of the CyberKnife System’s success in treating prostate cancer non-invasively, many patients are referring themselves to CyberKnife centers for treatment.”
I want to be the first to emphasis the fact that this type of treatment is not completely NON-INVASIVE. The treatments themselves, when the radiation is being administered to the patient/prostate, is not invasive. There is however a pre-treatment procedure in which patients will need to have fiducial markers implanted into their prostate. This procedure is invasive. A patient will typically go to his urologists office, they will give them a local anesthetic to the area between the scrotum and the rectum, and by inserting an Ultrasound probe into the rectum, will then use a needle to place these markers into the proper locations of the prostate.
These markers, or fiducials, need to be placed in certain areas of the prostate in order for the Cyberknife’s tracking, or GPS system to be able to locate and follow the prostate in real time as the patient is being treated. If a patient coughs, sneezes, twitches, or moves slightly, even with normal breathing, the machine can detect these changes and be able to follow where the prostate is, and be able to administer the high doses of radiation to the proper treatment areas.
This tracking is very important since it is what allows Cyberknife the benefit to offer its patients a reduction in side effects. The Cyberknife is able to avoid damaging surrounding healthy normal tissues adjacent to the prostate as well as avoid critical and senstive structures such as the urethra, bladder, rectum, and the nuerovascular bundles that are so critical to limiting erectile dysfunction and impotence.
The other benefit to Cyberknife is the conveinence it offers its patients. Traditional radition therapy for prostate cancer will be administered five days a week, monday through friday, for about 6 to 8 weeks, with each session lasting a bout 15minutes. With Cyberknife, since it uses higher doses of radiation for each treatment session, a patient will only need 1 to 5 treatments, each lasting about an hour or so. In addition, there is no recovery long recovery time like there is with surgery, or radical prostatectomy. Almost all patients that have Cyberknife for prostate cancer can continue on with normal day to day activities with no problems at all.
Of coruse, this is not for all patients. Patients ideally should be diagnose at an early stage in order to have the best outcomes for this type of procedure. The higher the staging of the prostate cancer, the larger the treatment area will need to be, and the longer the treatment time will be as well. Another problem is that since Cyberknife is a robotic system that is used to administer the radiation, in the unfortunate event that the prostate cancer does come back, it may make it a bit more complicated to offer re-treatment or salvage surgery.
Again, this is another tool that physicians are able to arm themselves with in the fight against prostate cancer. If you would like to read the full article on CNNmoney.com, you can find it here: Article.
If you have any other questions, comments, or concerns, or if you have a question about anything else relating to cancer, please feel free to contact me at: CANCERGEEK@GMAIL.COM OR CANCERGEEK@CANCERGEEK.COM