CyberKnife for prostate cancer
Prostate cancer treatment with CyberKnife
The experienced radiation oncologists at CyberKnife® of Long Island offer the most advanced nonsurgical options to treat prostate cancer, including the CyberKnife system. We have been treating prostate cancer patients with CyberKnife technology since 2008 and were the first in Suffolk County to offer this service.
The challenge that doctors face with prostate cancer is that the prostate gland can move unpredictably throughout the course of treatment, making it difficult to accurately target with standard radiation. As a result, the tumor may not receive enough radiation and healthy tissue near the tumor may be damaged. CyberKnife’s sophisticated software and respiratory tracking system allow us to confirm the exact location of the prostate tumor and continually track its movement in real time so we can deliver radiation without damaging healthy tissue in the rectum and bladder.
Benefits of CyberKnife treatment for prostate cancer
There are a number of benefits to CyberKnife treatment for prostate cancer patients, including:
- Pinpoint accuracy. CyberKnife is so precise that higher doses of radiation can be delivered because there’s less chance of healthy tissue in the bladder, rectum and surrounding areas being damaged. This reduces the duration and number of treatments required to treat your cancer.
- Outpatient capability. CyberKnife of Long Island offers CyberKnife treatment for prostate cancer patients in our comfortable and convenient office location, so there is no need to go to a hospital.
- No surgery or incisions. In some cases, we may need to place tiny pellets (called fiducial markers) into the prostate tumor so it’s easier to spot, but that’s a minor procedure.
- Fast treatment. Treatment for prostate cancer is completed in four to five sessions, with each treatment taking an hour or less.
- Painless procedures. Much like an X-ray, you don’t feel anything during CyberKnife treatment, so there’s no pain or sensation and no need for anesthesia or sedation.
- Minimal side effects. CyberKnife treatment doesn’t cause you to feel sick and won’t result in hair loss. It may cause temporary urinary frequency, which resolves over time.
- Little to no recovery time. You can return to normal activities the same day.
Candidacy for treatment
If you or a loved one has prostate cancer, we encourage you to explore all your treatment options. There is no one single treatment or surgery that is best for all men with prostate cancer.
The appropriate treatment depends on:
- The stage of your cancer
- Biopsy results (Gleason score)
- Prostate specific antigen (PSA) at diagnosis
- Your age
- Your overall health
- Personal preferences
Patients who fall into low to intermediate risk categories based on their PSA and Gleason scores are candidates for CyberKnife treatment. Those with more advanced prostate cancer may also qualify for CyberKnife treatment combined with other treatment options, and should discuss this with one of our specialists. CyberKnife is also a potential treatment option if you already received radiation therapy.
What to expect
Patients who receive standard external beam radiation therapy for prostate cancer receive up to 45 treatments over the course of eight to nine weeks. In contrast, CyberKnife allows us to treat prostate tumors with high radiation doses in five sessions. This substantially reduced treatment time frame is advantageous for busy men seeking the least amount of disruption to their daily lives.
If you decide CyberKnife is right for you, here's what you can expect:
- Consultation—A CyberKnife of Long Island radiation oncologist will meet with you to discuss your diagnosis and treatment options. Your medical records will be reviewed to help determine whether pretreatment procedures are needed. Our CyberKnife nurse coordinator will assist you during your first visit and help address your needs and concerns throughout the entire process.
- Fiducial placement—Some tumors may require the placement of fiducial markers (tiny pellets) into the prostate. The fiducials serve as reference points for the location of the prostate during treatment since the prostate is not attached to bone and continually moves.
- Imaging—About a week or so after the placement of the fiducial markers, you will undergo imaging procedures—such as a CT scan and MRI—to determine the size, shape and location of the area to be treated.
- Treatment planning—The CT scan images are downloaded to the CyberKnife treatment planning computer, where our experienced radiation oncologists and expert medical physicists use advanced software to develop a customized treatment plan.
- Treatment—You will return the following week for your first CyberKnife treatment. You can dress comfortably in your own clothes and bring music to listen to. You will lie on a table while a robotic arm moves around you and delivers beams of radiation to your prostate from many directions. When your appointment is over, you can usually return to your normal activities.
- Recovery—There are typically minimal side effects from CyberKnife treatments, which may include mild fatigue and temporary urinary frequency.
- Follow up—One or more follow-up appointments will be scheduled to monitor your progress. Keep in mind that the tumor will not suddenly disappear. In fact, it could take several weeks or longer to determine the effectiveness of the treatment.
Possible side effects
Many men are concerned about the possible side effects of prostate cancer treatment. Our CyberKnife experts can help you fight your prostate cancer with low risk of incontinence or impotence and no cutting, pain or long recovery times. In addition, CyberKnife treatment doesn’t cause you to feel sick and won’t result in hair loss. It may cause temporary urinary frequency, which resolves over time.