The Step-by-Step Process of CyberKnife® Treatment, from Evaluation through Recovery
After or during your diagnoses, your physician will determine if you may benefit from CyberKnife. If you are a candidate, you can expect that your treatment(s) will involve a team approach with several medical professionals collaborating on a treatment plan designed just for you. The following six steps provide an overview of CyberKnife treatment from beginning to end.
Though it may vary based on your specific treatment, you will likely work with a team of clinicians, including a radiation oncologist, surgeon, medical physicist, radiation technician and nurse coordinator.
Depending on the type and location of your tumor, your team may recommend placement of fiducials, which are small gold markers inserted near the tumor, to help identify the exact location of your tumor during treatment.
Not all treatments require fiducial markers. The determination will be made based on the density, size and location of the tumor.
Prior to treatment, an MRI and a CT or CT/PET scan is taken to determine the size, shape and location of your tumor(s).
Using images from a CT scan, the data are digitally transferred to the CyberKnife system’s treatment planning workstation, where a qualified physician identifies the tumor(s) to be targeted and the surrounding vital structures to be avoided. This plan is designed to match the desired radiation dose to the tumor location and limit radiation exposure to the surrounding healthy tissue.
Once the treatment plan is developed, you can begin your treatments. You will be comfortably positioned on the treatment table. Then the CyberKnife's computer-controlled robot will carefully move around you to deliver radiation at various locations as prescribed by your treatment plan. At the same time, the CyberKnife system is taking continual X-ray images that will provide real-time information about the location of your tumor and enable the system to dynamically track and correct for any movement of your tumor. Depending on the type and location of your tumor, you can expect to undergo between one and five treatment sessions.
Depending on the type of treatment you receive, your side effects will vary. Most CyberKnife patients do not experience any side effects, and for those who do, the symptoms are minimal. Patients should speak to their doctor about potential side effects and how they may be affected.