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CyberKnife for Lung Cancer

CyberKnife’s sophisticated robotic “tracking” technology is especially crucial in the treatment of those with lung cancer, since your lungs are in continuous motion. CyberKnife follows tumor and patient movement during treatment, making real-time adjustments with high precision and allowing for comfortable, normal breathing. You can also be confident that the tumor is being treated while surrounding healthy tissue and organs are preserved.

Average Number of Treatments

Standard RadiationCyberKnife M6
Prostate 40-45 4-5
Brain 10-30 1
Lung Lesions 10-35 3-4
Liver 10-30 3

What to Expect

Lung cancer treatment with CyberKnife engages a team approach involving several specialists. Once the team is in place, you will begin preparation for treatment.

Your physicians will identify the location and size of the tumor. Some tumors may require the placement of fiducial markers within the lung to help CyberKnife pinpoint the tumor’s exact location. If fiducial markers are needed, you will be scheduled for a short, minimally invasive outpatient procedure in which three to five tiny gold seeds are inserted into the tumor or surrounding lung tissue. CyberKnife treatment will begin approximately one week later to allow the movement of the fiducial markers to stabilize.

For more information about CyberKnife, please consult with your doctor or call 1-855-DNA-GIBBS.

For those whose tumors do not require fiducial markers, the CyberKnife system will use identifying characteristics of the tumor itself to clearly visualize and track the tumor within the chest as you breathe normally.

Before treatment begins, you will be fitted for a special body cradle. The cradle’s soft material molds to your body and is designed to make treatment more comfortable and ensure consistent body position at each session. You will also be fitted with a special vest worn during treatment that enables the CyberKnife robot to correlate chest motion and breathing patterns with the tumor position. Data generated by the vest allows the robot to precisely follow the tumor’s motion as it delivers each beam of radiation, ensuring safe and accurate radiation delivery.

Your team will also perform a CT scan while you are lying in the cradle. This is to inform the team of the exact size, shape and location of the tumor. Other scans may also may be necessary to fully visualize the tumor and nearby anatomy. Once imaging is done, you will remove the vest and it will be stored with the custom-fit body cradle for subsequent treatment sessions.

A medical physicist, in collaboration with your physicians, will design your unique treatment plan. Once the plan is complete, your treatment will be scheduled and accomplished in three to five sessions.

Treatment

For most, CyberKnife treatment is completely pain-free. You may dress comfortably in normal clothes and listen to music during your treatment, and you are welcome to bring a friend or family member to provide support before and after treatment.

CyberKnife’s computer-controlled robot will quietly move to various locations from which it will deliver radiation. At each position, the robot will stop. Special software will determine precisely where the radiation is delivered by correlating breathing motion with the tumor. Nothing is required of you during treatment, except to relax and lie as still as possible. It is painless and does not require sedation. You are able to communicate with and are seen by the technologists throughout the treatment.

Recovery

You can likely resume daily routines right away, with little or no interruption. If treatment is being delivered in stages, you will return for additional treatments over the next several days. Our doctors and staff will discuss all possible side effects with you prior to treatment; your doctor may also prescribe medication to control side effects, should any occur. Most patients experience only minimal side effects, if any, which typically go away within two weeks of treatment.

After completing treatment, it is important to schedule and keep follow-up appointments. Your doctors will monitor your outcomes with imaging such as a CT scan or PET-CT scan in the months and years following treatment.

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