A Radiation Oncologist is a specialist concerned with the diagnosis of cancer and its treatment with radiation therapy. He/she works with your surgeon and medical oncologist to determine your best treatment course. This specialist directs the planning and delivery of your radiation therapy. He/she will care for you during treatment should you experience side-effects. A radiation oncologist will follow you after treatment to monitor your disease and can also assist in pain and disability management.
The goal of all radiation therapy is to irradiate the tumor with a lethal dose of radiation while limiting the radiation received by the normal tissue that surrounds the tumor. Treatments involve sophisticated dose calculations that contour the shape and intensity of the beam to deliver radiation precisely to the targeted area.
There are many forms of radiation delivery systems. Tradiational hardware that uses IMRT (Intensity Modulates Radiation Therapy) can create high dose volumes that are concave in shape and also spare normal issues that are extremely close to and surrounded by the tumor. During each field of treatment, the dose delivered is modulated or adjusted by a multi-leaf collimator (a device that consists of a number of “fingers” or “leaves” which project into the primary beam to create the required shape). These systems are generally limited to a perpendicular rotaion around the patient. Other systems that support IMRT include guidance and imaging so that movement of the tumor and the internal organs can be detected prior to treatment.
CCCB uses one of the most state-of-the-art technologies available in the fight against cancer. Created by Accuray of California, the Cyberknife system uses technology originally designed to track cruise missiles. Consisting of a robotic arm system that continuously tracks, detects, and corrects for tumor and patient movement throughout the treatment, CyberKnife® delivers hundreds of beams of focused radiation from up to 200 different angles. These focused beams of radiation destroy a tumor with sub-millimeter accuracy without making a single incision. The range of motion that is possible with Cyberknife system offer a greater number of treatment postions that can offer fewer side effects and better clincial outcomes.
HOW DOES CYBERKNIFE WORK?
CyberKnife® uses a lightweight linear accelerator to generate radiation. A robotic arm moves around the patient and an image-guidance system tracks the target tumor, even while the patient is breathing.
Gold “seeds” about the size of a grain of rice are implanted in the tumor. These “seeds” guide a cone of radiation about the width of a pencil, toward the target.
WHAT PARTS OF THE BODY DOES CYBERKNIFE TREAT?
CyberKnife® can treat both benign and malignant tumors in the head—both extra cranial and intracranial—neck, lung, pancreas, prostate or pelvic organs, spine, kidneys, liver, melanoma, recurrent diseases and previously treated areas.
The CyberKnife® Robotic Radiosurgery System (Accuray)
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF CYBERKNIFE?
CyberKnife® is an option for inoperable or surgically complex tumors. Extremely accurate targeting means higher doses of radiation can be used, offering patients a better chance for cure, with little to no surrounding tissue damage. Where once a frame was required to immobilize the head during radiation treatments, CyberKnife® now can treat anywhere in the body without confining the patient. CyberKnife® can also reduce treatment time from five to eight weeks to one to five days and patients can undergo their treatments on an outpatient basis, without disrupting their daily activities. CyberKnife® also gives patients who have already been treated with external beam radiation and have a recurrence of cancer, an option to be treated with pinpoint radiation, rather than irradiating an entire area. The CyberKnife® procedure is covered by most insurance and approved by Medicare.