Should I have CyberKnife for my prostate cancer?
by Mark Perman, MD
How in the world could prostate cancer treatment be painless, bloodless, require no anesthesia and be performed in a doctor’s office? By using the CyberKnife, a noninvasive instrument originally devised by a Stanford neurosurgeon to eradicate brain tumors. That same technology has also proven to be highly successful in treating tumors in all parts of the body, particularly the prostate. How does it do this? Rather than by cutting or burning, the CyberKnife harnesses multiple, focused pinpoint beams of radiation directed precisely upon the prostate.
In fact, the technology is so advanced, that it is reliable down to the diameter of a hair. With such an accurate delivery of radiation, doctors and physicists are able to safely concentrate the cancer killing power of a traditional course of radiation from 40 to 45 daily fractions down to five days, delivered in one and ½ weeks. They found that delivering large doses of radiation over a short course of therapy (a technique known as hypofractionation) is beneficial because prostate cancer cells reproduce slowly, making them more sensitive to higher doses of radiation per fraction.
Equally impressive, because CyberKnife prostate treatment limits radiation exposure to surrounding organs, the rate of side effects is very low. Unlike surgery, CyberKnife prostate treatment requires minimal recovery time and men often are able to carry on their normal daily activities such as playing golf or work during and after the treatments.
Who is a candidate for prostate cancer treatment with the CyberKnife? Generally, men with early stage, localized disease that do not have evidence of aggressive cancer on biopsy, physical examination or a high PSA, can be considered. Men who are considered at high risk for lymph node involvement, very large tumors, very high PSA or those that have spread of the cancer to other organs are not good candidates for CyberKnife. Sometimes some of these more aggressive cases can be treated with a combination of external radiation and Cyberknife. To see if you are a candidate for CyberKnife, schedule a consultation with one of our highly experienced radiation oncologists at South Florida Radiation Oncology.