Treatment for Prostate Tumors
For prostate tumors, CyberKnife is typically used for patients with early stage cancer confined to the prostate. It may also be used in combination with another therapy, such as external beam radiation, for patients with cancer extending beyond the prostate. Depending on the stage of the cancer, your doctor will recommend a treatment plan.
Who is involved with CyberKnife treatment at Baptist Cancer Center?
Prostate cancer treatment with the CyberKnife System involves a team approach. Your team may include the following:
What planning occurs prior to CyberKnife treatment at Baptist Cancer Center?
Treating prostate tumors can be tricky because the prostate naturally moves as your body performs normal functions. Before CyberKnife, this unpredictable movement made it very difficult to perform radiation treatments, significantly increasing the risk of damaging the delicate healthy tissues surrounding the tumor.
To pinpoint the prostate tumor's location, you will undergo a short outpatient procedure before your treatment. Your doctor will insert three to five small seeds, about the size of a grain of rice, into the prostate. The seeds are called fiducial markers, and they are placed in the body through an ultrasound-guided needle. You may be asked to clean out your rectum with an enema the day of the fiducial placement.
The fiducial markers serve as reference points to accurately locate the prostate tumor. Doctors will wait about one week before CyberKnife treatment can begin, to ensure fiducial movement has stabilized.
Prior to the treatment, a special custom-fit body cradle will be made for you. The cradle is made of a soft material that molds to your body, ensuring that you remain in the same position for each treatment session and will be comfortable during the procedure.
While lying in the cradle, you will undergo a CT scan and possibly an MRI scan. This data will be used by the Baptist Cancer Center team to determine the exact size, shape and location of the prostate. Once the imaging is complete, the body cradle will be stored for use during your CyberKnife treatment.
A medical physicist will work with your doctors to devise a treatment plan, using CT and/or MRI data that will be downloaded into the CyberKnife System's software. The medical team will determine the size of the targeted area, the radiation dose and location of other organs and tissue where radiation should be minimized. Once the plan is complete, you will return to the CyberKnife center for your treatment, which usually takes four or five sessions.
What does a CyberKnife treatment at the Baptist Cancer Center involve?
For most patients, the CyberKnife treatment is painless; side effects are minimal and temporary. You may dress comfortably in your own clothes, and we encourage you to bring music to listen to during the treatment.
During treatment, you will lie in your custom body cradle. The radiation therapist will ensure the cradle is properly adjusted and that you are appropriately positioned on the treatment couch. When you are ready for treatment to begin, the location of the prostate will be tracked, 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 software detects your prostate movement, ensuring safe and precise radiation delivery.
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.