What are the side effects from CyberKnife? We’re asked that question a lot at CyberKnife Miami and it’s Googled a lot.

The good news is, most often there are minimal side effects from CyberKnife treatment. The most common side effect is fatigue, but most of the time, patients are able to go back to their usual activities right after treatment, including work or even working out, however we do recommend someone drive you immediately after treatment just in case you do have some side effects.

The most common side effect from radiation therapy is fatigue.

Fatigue can be mild or more severe. Patients describe it as feeling tired, exhausted or worn out. It can happen all at once or come on slowly. People feel fatigue in different ways and you may feel more or less fatigue than someone else who is getting the same amount of radiation therapy to the same part of the body.

How long do CyberKnife side effects last?

That too varies. Some patients may experience other rare side effects including nausea and dizziness, which usually can be prevented with medications taken before or after treatment. 

Those symptoms should pass within a few hours after treatment.

For example, let’s examine potential side effects of CyberKnife® treatment for liver cancer?  

Despite the higher doses of radiation delivered with CyberKnife, also known as Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy or SBRT, the effectiveness of CyberKnife for primary liver cancer is equivalent to surgery with a much lower risk of side effects including pain, infection and downtime required to recover from surgery. 

Again, most patients resume normal activity immediately after CyberKnife treatment sessions.

Nonetheless, side effects can and do occur. They can include, but are not limited to

  • Liver pain
  • Slower liver function
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Fatigue, weakness, lethargy
  • Rib pain and/or fracture
  • Exposure to nearby tissue, such as the bowel
  • Complications due to fiducial marker insertion

Managing side effects of CyberKnife treatment with your medical team:

Prior to beginning CyberKnife treatment, your medical team will discuss all possible side effects and may prescribe medication to control any side effects, should they occur. Most often only over the counter medications are needed to eliminate symptoms.

Protecting healthy tissue and protecting quality of life.

Multiple studies validate that CyberKnife SBRT is well tolerated with minimal side effects. Unlike any other radiation technology, the CyberKnife System continually tracks the tumor site and automatically corrects the radiation beams should the patient move. This is done in real-time through the entire treatment session. 

With this automatic motion tracking and synchronization, the CyberKnife System enhances your cancer treatment team’s ability to maximize the radiation dose to the tumor — while minimizing doses to surrounding healthy tissues — which too helps preserve liver function and reduces the risk of side-effects that can impact quality of life both during and after treatment.

But again, the majority of patients go about their normal day and continue normal activities immediately following treatment, compared to limiting normal activity for three to five weeks following traditional cancer surgery.

Another common question is, how long does radiation stay in your body after radiation therapy?

The radiation stays in the body for anywhere from a few minutes to a few days.

What should I avoid after radiation?

Don’t wear tight clothing over the treatment area. It’s important not to rub, scrub or scratch any sensitive spots. Also avoid putting anything that is very hot or very cold—such as heating pads or ice packs—on your treated skin.

What is the best food after radiation?

After radiation therapy, extra protein can help your body heal. Good sources of protein include fish, poultry, lean red meat, eggs, low-fat dairy products, nuts and nut butters, dried beans, peas and lentils.

What are the best vitamins to take during radiation therapy? 

Antioxidants including vitamins A, C, E, beta-carotene, selenium and a multivitamin.

How can I boost my immune system during radiation?

Sleep Well. Aim for 7 hours a night. 

Eat Smart. 

Get Moving. 

Manage Stress. 

How do you stay strong during radiation?

You can achieve these goals by getting adequate calories, protein, vitamins and minerals and staying physically active.

We hope these tips help you get through your cancer treatment as easily and effectively as possible.

If you have any questions about any aspect of CyberKnife treatment, or any cancer treatments, our top cancer doctors at CyberKnife Miami can answer them and help you decide what is the best option for your particular case. 

You can reach us at 305-279-2900.