Treatment for Brain Tumors
Unlike other radiosurgery treatments, such as the Gamma Knife, the CyberKnife System does not require patients to be fitted with uncomfortable head frames. Instead, CyberKnife uses a mesh mask to achieve pinpoint accuracy, allowing patients to undergo treatment in an outpatient setting. The CyberKnife System can determine a tumor's exact location using X-ray images to account for the unique bony structures of a patient's head.
CyberKnife can be used on its own or in combination with other treatments, such as chemotherapy, surgery or whole brain radiation therapy.
Who is involved with CyberKnife treatment at Baptist Cancer Center? CyberKnife brain cancer treatments at the Baptist Cancer Center involve a team approach. Your team may include:
How does CyberKnife differ from Gamma Knife?
Instead of hard head frames, your radiation therapist at Baptist Cancer Center will create a soft, breathable mask that is custom-fitted to your face to keep you comfortable. The mask helps keep your head and neck still during treatment. A CT scan will be performed while you wear the mask, and the CT data will be used to determine the exact size, shape and location of the tumor. You will also have an MRI.
Because CyberKnife continually adapts to tumor motion, it provides precise radiation delivery, which is not possible with Gamma Knife. Additionally, CyberKnife treatment can be used on lesions of any size, whereas Gamma Knife has size limitations. Gamma Knife can only treat tumors from the brain down to C-2. The CyberKnife can treat tumors anywhere in the body.
What does CyberKnife treatment at the Baptist Cancer Center involve?
For most patients, the CyberKnife treatment is painless. You may dress comfortably in your own clothes, and we encourage you to bring music to listen to during the treatment.
During your treatment, you will lie on a table while your face mask is secured. The location of the tumor will be continually tracked as you relax and breathe normally, and the computer-controlled robot will move around your body, stopping at each determined location to deliver radiation. The medical team will be watching every step of the way as the CyberKnife detects your tumor movement, allowing for safe and precise radiation delivery.
Depending on your specific condition, your radiation oncologist may choose to deliver the treatment in one session, or stage it over several days. Typically, brain cancer treatments are completed within five days.
Once the CyberKnife treatment is complete, most patients quickly return to their daily routines with little interruption in their normal activities. If the treatment is being delivered in stages, you will need to return for additional treatments over the next several days. Your radiation oncologist may prescribe medication designed to control any side effects, should they occur. Side effects are generally minimal and temporary.