Here are a few statistics to keep in mind when it comes to cancer treatment and radiation:
- 50% of all cancer patients will receive radiation at some point during their illness.
- Radiation therapy accounts for 40% of curative cancer treatments, according to the National Institutes of Health.
- Of the 14 million people diagnosed with cancer globally, radiation can help cure a quarter of those.
- In addition, radiation can provide palliative care for another quarter of those diagnosed with cancer.
Yet when we think of radiation for cancer treatments in general, we lump all types of radiation into one large category, and we should not.
There are differences among radiation treatment options.
Take for instance, CyberKnife – a form of external beam radiation, also known as stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT). It is not considered standard or traditional radiation because it has not been around as long as other types of radiation. That said it has been FDA approved since 2001 and was used successfully for a decade before it got FDA approval. Plus, there are mounds of research proving its safety and effectiveness, going back 30 plus years. That is why the experts at the CyberKnife Center of Miami – South Florida’s premiere radiation cancer treatment center — think it should be considered standard care for many types of cancers treated with radiation, for numerous reasons.
Among them, “CyberKnife is the most refined way to target a tumor and minimize the dose to normal tissue,” according to Dr. Mark Pomper, board-certified radiation oncologist and medical director of CyberKnife Miami.
What Is CyberKnife?
The name is misleading because CyberKnife is not a knife at all. It is a state-of-the art, noninvasive radiation treatment system for cancerous and non-cancerous tumors and other medical problems, including Trigeminal Neuralgia.
CyberKnife has distinct advantages over what is considered traditional radiation.
The CyberKnife missile guidance technology enables SBRT to track a tumor’s movement in real time. It is the only radiation technology that can do that. Its robotic arm delivers radiation directly to the tumor, leaving healthy surrounding tissue unharmed. This way it can deliver the highest dose of radiation possible. With CyberKnife, patients have a shorter course of treatment than with traditional radiation because SBRT is extremely targeted radiation.
“Accurate and precise delivery helps minimize irradiation of the healthy tissues surrounding tumors and potentially the risk of side effects, which may lead to better quality of life for the patient both during and after treatment,” Accuray, the maker of CyberKnife, states.
CyberKnife: The Present and the Future of Radiation for Cancer
So, while CyberKnife may not be considered a traditional radiation treatment yet, it may very well be in the future and should be already. This spring Accuray announced that it shipped out 30 systems – setting a new record for quarterly shipments.
CyberKnife has been studied in hundreds of clinical trials. It has helped hundreds of thousands of patients – even patients who were told they could not have more radiation, or their tumors were inoperable.
CyberKnife can be used on prostate, lung, brain, spine, liver, pancreas, head and neck, and kidney tumors.
It can also be used on tumors where surgery is not an option or in the case of metastasis. It can also be used for nerve disorders as well, like acoustic neuromas.
For the elderly or those too weak to have surgery, it should always be considered.
A big bonus, there are minimal side effects with CyberKnife treatments. The side effects often depend on the area being treated, the type of cancer a patient has and a person’s overall health.
Accuray tracks clinical trials where CyberKnife is involved, and the list is long. Some of the current trials include breast and gynecological cancers as well as more studies on lung and liver cancers. Plus, CyberKnife has been shown to have up to a 98% cure rate with prostate cancer.
Here are a few other benefits of cancer treatment with CyberKnife:
- Excellent control of tumors
- Lower risk of damage to healthy tissue
- Better quality of life while undergoing treatment
According to research, the global CyberKnife market is growing – and will continue to grow — because of more cases of cancer and the increasing desire for patients to have non-invasive or minimally invasive treatments with less disruption to their lives.
Cancer Treatment Miami
As more patients learn about and are asking for CyberKnife to treat their cancer, you want to make sure you are in the hands of a team with the most experience with radiation therapy and using CyberKnife technology. In South Florida, that team is at CyberKnife Miami. We have been treating patients with CyberKnife since 2003 and it is all we do all day long.
We were the first CyberKnife center to open in the Southeast United States and our success stories are part of the reason patients are asking for treatment with CyberKnife.
“The most common comment I get from patients is that you probably have no idea how good your staff is. They take a potentially frightening experience and make it a warm and friendly one,” says Dr. Pomper.
“Everyone at CyberKnife Miami made me feel so comfortable and are so nice. I cannot say enough great things about them,” says CyberKnife Miami patient Mike Cibula, who was treated for prostate cancer 10 years ago and remains cancer free. “All of the doctors work together as a team. They were all there for my first treatment, and they continued to call to see how I was doing. Their compassion is just incredible.”
We have successfully treated patients from Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, and Monroe counties as well as patients from across the country and around the world.
Because our team has decades of experience using radiation therapy with CyberKnife, we are asked to teach doctors and staff members at other cancer centers how to use CyberKnife, and how to get the best results possible for their patients. That takes knowledge, know-how and years of experience, which we have in spades. That is who you want treating you.
We have even treated patients who were told there is nothing more we can do for you. Those who were told they could not have any more radiation and patients whose tumors were deemed inoperable, like lung cancer patients and lymph node cancer patients. We take on the toughest cases and our vast experience gives us the confidence to do that.
Dr. Pomper advises, “If your doctor tells you, CyberKnife is not for you, go to a CyberKnife center and get a second opinion. Maybe it is not, but most of the time it is, and it will result in the least disruption to your life because it requires so many fewer treatments.”
For instance, with CyberKnife prostate cancer patients only need 5 treatments, compared to 42 to 45 with other types of radiation therapy. Dr. Pomper asks, “How can doctors in good conscience recommend 40 plus treatment sessions, when you can do it in five? It makes no sense and that is why CyberKnife should not only be considered standard treatment, but it should also be considered the gold standard of treatment for all types of tumors.”
At the CyberKnife Center of Miami, our goal is to get you back to your life – cancer free as easily, quickly, safely, and as effectively as possible. With CyberKnife we can do it faster and better.
If you would like to find out more about treatment with CyberKnife, call us at 305-279-2900 or go to our website now for more information www.cyberknifemiami.com.