CyberKnife, the Lifestyle-Friendly Prostate Cancer Treatment

Patients with localized prostate cancer have a new choice for treatment. Called CyberKnife stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT), this option is based on radiosurgery.

Radiosurgery is a noninvasive technique that targets tumors with high doses of radiation. CyberKnife SBRT kills prostate cancer cells while it minimizes exposure to radiation of nearby, healthy tissue like the bladder and rectum.

CyberKnife Changes the Game

Traditionally, patients with localized prostate cancer underwent surgery; active monitoring of PSA (prostate-specific antigen, a lab test for protein elevation); or eight or nine weeks of radiation therapy. However, CyberKnife SBRT allows patients to finish treatment in days rather than weeks. For five days, the patient undergoes ambulatory treatment sessions that take about 30 to 40 minutes. The noninvasive procedure requires no anesthesia and is painless and efficient. It’s also convenient: Two CyberKnife of Long Island locations mean there’s no need to travel far for cutting-edge care. When most patients finish their SBRT series, they continue with their normal lives.

This lifestyle-friendly treatment choice has been gaining momentum over the past several years. Advances in technology have allowed physicians to aim much higher radiation doses at cancerous prostate tumors–with greater accuracy. Some SBRT systems, such as the CyberKnife, are so advanced that they allow the physician to track movement of the prostate during a treatment session.

Impressive Data on Survival

While newer is not always better, current data on SBRT are promising. For example, SBRT has a five-year, relapse-free survival rate of 93 percent compared to other treatment methods for localized prostate cancer, according to the medical journal Radiation Oncology. This technique also offers similar cure rates to more traditional modalities.

Furthermore, patients tolerate SBRT well and it has minimal lasting impact on their lives, according to recent results from a multi-institutional prospective trial. There aren’t an abundance of long-term data for radiosurgery, but so far the data has been compelling.

It may be too soon to say unequivocally, “In as few as five treatments, your prostate cancer can be cured.” However, as an oncologist, I am optimistic about CyberKnife SBRT.

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