Oct 15, 2009 - 10:57 am
Greetings! I'm new to this board and don't know whether anyone has posted on this topic before. In late September I had cyberknife treatments for metastasis to the sacrum, and I want to offer a brief report on that.
Cyberknife is a technique that delivers highly focused high-dose radiation. Because the focus is so precise and very little healthy tissue is exposed to the radiation, the technique can deliver the same dose of radiation typically given over six weeks in just one to five days. (My treatments were for three consecutive days.) The treatments are pain free, and the cyberknife team at Stanford Hospital, where I had my treatments, reports an 80% success rate. That is, for 80% of colon cancer patients with metastasis to the sacrum, the sacral tumor is stabilized and there has been no recurrence at the sacrum.
I was first diagnosed in March with a tumor in the soft tissue adjacent to the sacrum. It was causing severe pain because the tumor was entwined with the sciatic nerve. I had six weeks of daily radiation treatments in March and April, and by late May the pain had begun to diminish. I did well until mid-July when the pain roared back quickly and much worse than before. While an MRI in early June showed that the cancer had stabilized, a new MRI in early August showed that the cancer had spread through the bone itself from S2 through S4 and in a mass extending back to the anastomosis at the top of the rectum. Because the tumor was too extensive for sacrectomy, a risky procedure in any case, my doctors recommended cyberknife treatments, hoping primarily to reduce the pain as well as to halt further growth.
I had my CEA tested earlier this week, and the level has dropped from over 60 before the treatments to 12. It's too early still to evaluate the effectiveness of the procedure in reducing the pain (it initially causes swelling and increased pain), but the reduced CEA is worth a report, I think. I have also been on chemo, with irenotecan, avastin, and xeloda since early September, so that may have helped lower the cea too.
If anyone is interested in learning more about cyberknife treatments, here's the link to the Stanford program: http://stanfordhospital.org/clinicsmedServices/COE/cyberknife/. Other hospitals that offer this treatment include Georgetown and Philadelphia. There are probably other locations that I don't know about. Please send me a personal message if you'd like to hear more about my experiences with the treatment.
Hope all of this is useful.