CyberKnife treatment is a non-invasive, painless modality that delivers high doses of radiation precisely to the cancerous tissue in the body. It is an appropriate alternative for stereotactic radiosurgery and for cases where invasive methods are estimated to be ineffective or too risky. It is the best option for patients who cannot undergo open surgery due to the size and location of the tumor or when the patients’ health deteriorates rapidly.
CyberKnife is a fully robotic radiation delivery system. It uses a robotic arm along with real-time imaging to focus a high dose of radiation to the tumor with sub-millimeter precision. The flexible robotic arm allows the treatment of tumors in the various regions of the body.
CyberKnife is a suitable option for patients who:
- Have a tumors that are considered as inoperable
- Are too young or old for frame-based radiosurgery
- Have no desire to undergo a traditional open surgery or stereotactic radiosurgery
- Have not responded to maximum allowable dose radiotherapy
- Can undergo radiosurgery as an adjunct therapy to standard oncology care
- Discuss with your doctor to determine if you are an eligible candidate for CyberKnife treatment
PREPARATION BEFORE PROCEDURE
Firstly, you will have a discussion regarding the date of your treatment with your team, which may include a surgeon, radiation oncologist, radiation therapist, etc.
Before the treatment, you will undergo various imaging procedures like high-resolution CT scan, MRI or PET scan. These tests help to determine the shape, size and location of the tumor. Based on these scans, the optimum radiation dose to target the tumor without damaging the surrounding healthy tissues is decided.
Your treatment team will give you some guidelines to prepare you for the process. The instructions may include:
- Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothes for the procedure.
- Eat regularly and maintain your routine before the treatment.
- Take the prescribed medicines before treatment.
- Do not wear any jewellery for the treatment.
- Do not use any lotions, creams, moisturizers, deodorants or powder on the area to be treated, four hours before the treatment.
CyberKnife treatments are usually performed on an outpatient basis; the number of treatment sessions may vary based on the tumor size, and location.
During the treatment, you will be asked to lie on the procedure table comfortably; the table will position your body for the treatment. You will not be under anesthesia as the procedure is non-invasive and painless. Then, the computer-controlled robotic arm will move around the body, without touching, and deliver radiation.
The patient will be asked to do nothing but relax and remain still as much as possible.
Most patients return to their daily activities with little interruption. There are certain side effects of this procedure, the most common one being fatigue. The doctors may prescribe some medicines to manage other side effects of the procedure.
You will be asked to meet the doctors for a follow-up. Few months after the treatment, imaging tests like CT, MRI or PET will be performed to evaluate the tumor’s response to the treatment.
Recovery after CyberKnife treatment is often immediate, as it has a low risk of complications and minimal side effects. However, doctors do advise to eat right, exercise regularly, and avoid alcohol consumption for a faster recovery. The doctor may give some instructions after undergoing CyberKnife treatment.
FACTORS AFFECTING COST
The cost of CyberKnife treatment will vary from patient to patient, based on the following factors:
- The area of your healthcare facility
- The location and type of tumor
- The number of sessions required for treatment
- Length of stay in the hospital
- Patient’s medical condition