Health Reviews

What Is Cyberknife? Dennis of Marshall Shares His Prostate Cancer Treatment Success Story

In August 2017, Dennis Gingras of Marshall was the primary affected person in western North Carolina to be handled with Challenge’s Cyberknife device for prostate most cancers. After most effective 5 brief therapies, his prostate-specific antigen (PSA) returned to customary vary. Now, he’s feeling like his outdated self once more.

What Is Cyberknife?

Cyberknife is a era that delivers exterior radiation. “Unlike the traditional linear accelerator, the Cyberknife is an accelerator at the end of a robotic arm,” mentioned Eric Kuehn, MD, a radiation oncologist with Challenge Cancer Care. “So rather than treatment delivery restricted to one plane, the robotic arm allows the team to choose almost any angle to deliver the beam. When multiple beam angles are utilized, the radiation is given to a tightly focused area.”

Challenge Well being has been the usage of its Cyberknife device for the remedy of sure mind and lung cancers since 2005, and has handled smartly over 1,500 sufferers since then. If truth be told, Challenge was once the primary sanatorium within the Carolinas to introduce the era. Nevertheless it wasn’t till revealed information was once to be had at the use of Cyberknife in prostate most cancers remedy that the sanatorium began providing the remedy to that exact affected person inhabitants.

“There were a few academic centers that were using Cyberknife to treat prostate cancer for several years with good results,” mentioned Dr. Kuehn. “The problem was that no one had ever published their data. We would get calls from patients all the time asking about Cyberknife, but we were never comfortable offering it until we could see the data on outcomes and toxicity.”

“Fortunately, over the past couple of years that information has been published in medical literature,” endured Dr. Kuehn. “After seeing that the technology works quite well and that the toxicity wasn’t much different than any other forms of radiation, we were eager to start offering it to prostate cancer patients.”

As section of the preparation to start prostate most cancers therapies, Challenge changed their unique gadget with the latest model of the era to permit supply of the radiation much more successfully than ahead of.

Shortening Treatment Occasions

In phrases of results, the Cyberknife doesn’t essentially ship higher effects than different prostate most cancers therapies. That’s as a result of, when stuck early, prostate most cancers is usually a extremely treatable most cancers. “The results in treating early prostate cancer are pretty good no matter which method the patient chooses,” mentioned Dr. Kuehn. “It’s hard to improve on the outcomes we already get.”

Subsequently, the most important promoting level of Cyberknife is that it tremendously shortens a affected person’s remedy length from 40 therapies over the direction of eight weeks to 5 therapies inside of per week and a part. Dr. Kuehn mentioned this patient-friendly function is especially necessary in western North Carolina, the place sufferers every now and then force lengthy distances to obtain remedy.

“Mission covers a wide geographic area, and we see lots of patients who live a long way from Asheville and have to drive an hour to an hour and a half or longer to get here,” mentioned Dr. Kuehn. “In the past, radiation for prostate cancer required huge time and travel commitments from them. It’s a big win for those patients that they now have something as good as the traditional treatment, but with more convenience.”

The shorter direction of remedy was once in the end what satisfied Gingras to make a choice Cyberknife. When he met with Dr. Kuehn previous to his remedy, Dr. Kuehn mentioned all remedy choices with Gingras, together with Cyberknife.

“It’s a big decision, but in the end I chose Cyberknife because there would be fewer treatments,” mentioned Gingras. “I also liked that it was a highly targeted and accurate treatment.”

Gingras mentioned the therapies have been a breeze for him. “It was so easy and simple – just like getting an X-ray,” he mentioned. “You don’t have any pain while it’s happening, and it’s just incredible to watch the machine work. So you just lie there listening to music and looking at the stars on the ceiling while this amazing robot works, and then in 15 minutes or so it’s over. I did that every other day for 10 days, and that was it.”

Gingras additionally noticed speedy effects from his therapies. Prior to he began, his prostate-specific antigen (PSA) quantity was once eight.7. After his 5 Cyberknife therapies, it was once already right down to a 1.7.

The Best Affected person

One of the explanations Cyberknife was once this sort of just right remedy possibility for Gingras – and why Dr. Kuehn beneficial it to him within the first position – is that he was once the kind of affected person who would receive advantages smartly from the remedy.

In line with Dr. Kuehn, Cyberknife is beneficial for males with somewhat early prostate most cancers. “The more advanced prostate cancers, would not be appropriate to treat with this technology,” he mentioned. “Not only do we not have published outcomes of treatment in those patient populations, but we know that Cyberknife is ideal for targeting smaller areas with finite edges. With more advanced prostate cancer, we’re dealing with much larger areas at risk, possibly including the lymph nodes and the tissues around the prostate.”

Dr. Kuehn mentioned the remedy could also be now not in most cases beneficial for males with huge prostates. “One of the side effects of the treatment is that it can temporarily cause difficulty emptying the bladder, and that can be worse for those who already have trouble emptying their bladders due to a big prostate,” he mentioned.

The aspect impact Dr. Kuehn mentions is one Gingras skilled. Prostate swelling because of the remedy brought about him problem in emptying his bladder. However via a mixture of medicines and self-cathetering, his signs have slowly tapered off. Dr. Kuehn mentioned this aspect impact can remaining two to a few months following surgical procedure.

Particular Care Each Step of the Manner

Whilst Cyberknife is a moderately simple remedy, Dr. Kuehn and the remaining of the most cancers care workforce take particular precautions to strengthen results, in addition to affected person studies. Gingras mentioned the follow-up care he gained was once additionally best notch.

“Dr. Kuehn would call me every week just to check on how I was doing,” he mentioned. “But, really, everyone I interacted with throughout this process has been so nice – from Victoria Urological Associates to Dr. Kuehn’s team. They’re your doctors and nurses, but you come to think of them as friends too.”


Eric Kuehn, MD, is a radiation oncologist with Challenge Cancer Care.

For more info about Challenge Cancer Care, consult with missionhealth.org/most cancers.

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