Recent research has proven that higher doses of radiation decreases the chance of prostate cancer recurring. Yet concerns about damaging the gland’s surrounding critical structures — including the bladder and rectum — have often prevented the use of aggressive radiation treatment.

CyberKnife may be your best option if:

  • Your lesion or tumor is untreatable by surgery or other radiation modalities
  • You have previously undergone radiation treatments
  • You are elderly, frail or otherwise in compromised health

Highlights of Treatment for Prostate Cancer with CyberKnife:

  • More accurate than traditional radiation
  • Fewer treatment sessions—5 compared with the 40 of traditional radiation treatment
  • CyberKnife treatments are outpatient procedures
  • Benefits include no pain, no body frame, no overnight hospitalization

Benefits of CyberKnife

Not only can CyberKnife target tumors that were previously considered unreachable or inoperable, the sophisticated system is a great advancement in patient ease and comfort, offering the following advantages:

  • No pain — Because the procedure is a nonsurgical approach, there is no anesthesia, incision, blood loss or recovery time.
  • No head or body frame — Unlike other stereotactic radiosurgical techniques, the CyberKnife system uses the body’s bony structures or implanted markers to find its target (with or without Synchrony).
  • No overnight hospitalization — An outpatient treatment, CyberKnife usually allows you to return home the same day.
  • Faster and more accurate — Approaching its target from more than 1,400 angles, CyberKnife can deliver high doses of radiation to tumors while avoiding surrounding, healthy tissue.

Fewer Sessions with CyberKnife

CyberKnife seems to be as effective for certain localized prostate cancers as other radiation therapies and with fewer treatments. CyberKnife produces the desired effect in only five sessions, as compared to the approximately 40 sessions required by the three-dimensional conformal external beam treatment or, intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT). As for the internal radiation treatment brachytherapy (seed therapy), it is administered in a single session, but gives off its radiation continuously for three months.

What Should I Expect from Treatment with CyberKnife?

  • CyberKnife treatment begins with the implantation in the prostate of four tiny gold fiducials that act as markers or targets for the system’s missile-like rays.
  • Afterward, a team of experienced physicians uses MRIs, CT scans and three-dimensional technology to pinpoint the exact size and location of the patient’s cancer to create a treatment plan.
  • A week or two later, the patient returns for five days of therapy over one to two weeks, with each treatment lasting about an hour.
  • Patients are usually able to resume their normal activities almost immediately.
  • Follow-up consists of regularly scheduled PSA (prostate-specific antigen) tests and monitoring.

How It Works

Equipped with space-age technology, CyberKnife uses a combination of robotics, image guidance systems and computers to deliver highly concentrated doses of radiation to the prostate while protecting surrounding healthy tissue. CyberKnife is the only stereotactic robotic radiosurgery system on the market that adjusts for patient or tumor movement during treatment, making it especially suitable for the prostate and convenient for patients. With previously implanted markers (called “fiducials”) to serve as reference points in the prostate, the components work together to plot out the best attack strategy. Throughout the actual procedure, X-ray cameras similar to those found on cruise missiles remain locked on the tumor, showing its exact position. The robotic arm ensures access to hard-to-reach locations and unparalleled flexibility to approach the tumor from virtually any angle. With laser-like accuracy, CyberKnife’s crossfire technique then delivers as many as 1,400 highly pinpointed beams of radiation to control or destroy the tumor.

Is CyberKnife Right You?

Even though CyberKnife is already FDA-approved for the prostate, Georgetown’s physician/ scientists want to contribute more knowledge and information to the field. Toward that end, the hospital is currently one of a few centers in the United States conducting clinical trials to determine CyberKnife’s long-term effectiveness and proper dosage levels. From CyberKnife® to clinical trials to conventional therapies, MedStar Georgetown gives men with prostate cancer more options, including one that’s right for you. Learn more about prostate cancer treatments and prostate cancer surgery.

Call 202-295-0555 to make an appointment or request an appointment online

Ask Dr. Sean Collins

Treatment Options for Localized Prostate Cancer

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Related Resources

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