CyberKnife: An Innovative Treatment for Lung and Prostate Cancer

Hosted by Tamara A. LaCouture, MD

Prostate cancer strikes more than 186,000 American men each year and kills more than 28,000, making it the second most common cancer after skin cancer and the second leading cancer killer after lung cancer among men.

Lung cancer is the most common cause of death due to cancer in both men and women throughout the world. According to the American Cancer Society this year in the U.S. approximately 220,000 new cases of lung cancer will be diagnosed and approximately 160,000 people will die because of this disease.

The CyberKnife® Robotic Radiosurgery System, available at Cooper Cancer Institute, offers some patients with lung and prostate cancer patients a safe, effective and convenient alternative to traditional radiation treatment and surgery.

CyberKnife is a non-invasive radiation therapy treatment for tumors anywhere in the body, including the prostate, lung, brain, spine, liver, pancreas and kidney. With CyberKnife beams of high-dose radiation are delivered to tumors with extreme accuracy in five or fewer sessions.  Though its name may conjure images of scalpels and surgery, CyberKnife treatment involves no cutting.  It provides a non-surgical option for patients who have inoperable or surgically complex tumors, or who may be looking for an alternative to surgery.

The challenge that doctors often face in treating prostate and lung cancers with radiation therapy is that the tumor and tissue moves with breathing and other natural body movements.  This movement makes it difficult to precisely target the tumor during radiation treatment and risks harm to surrounding healthy tissue. The CyberKnife® Robotic Radiosurgery System is able to overcome this challenge by continuously identifying the exact location of the tumor throughout the course of the treatment using advanced tumor tracking imaging and computer software. During CyberKnife treatment, physicians can direct beams of radiation on a moving target without harming surrounding areas. As a result, radiation is delivered more accurately, in higher doses and treatments can be completed in one to five days.

While it is not appropriate for every patient, CyberKnife is an important addition to the treatment options available to people with lung, prostate cancer and other cancers - and one worthwhile to explore.

Join Dr. LaCouture as she discusses this innovative treatment option.