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About Cyberknife

Isabel8
Posts: 3
Joined: Feb 2013

Hi everyone, I have a question on cyberknife. If it can remove tumours, why do H&N cancer(such as NPC) patients still need radiotherapy?

Billie67's picture
Billie67
Posts: 834
Joined: Jul 2012

Radiation is insurance that any stray cells don't turn on you later. Personally I was up to do anything which upped my chances of never having to deal with the beast again.
Billie

Isabel8
Posts: 3
Joined: Feb 2013

Hi Billie, thank you for your reply. So cyberknife is able to replace radiotherapy as a primary treatment?! A friend of mine is dianosed with NPC stage 3, the short/long term side effects from chemorad therapy are scary and depressing. I wonder if it's worth it Frown

CivilMatt's picture
CivilMatt
Posts: 3007
Joined: May 2012

Isabel18,

 

I do not believe Cyberknife (physically) removes tumors, it is just well placed doses which kill tumors.  If you have multiple tumors you have to get them all.  It really sounds pretty neat and is used in case specific cancers, often times inoperable or difficult to remove.

 

Since they knew where my cancer was they removed it and to kill any residual cells they used chemo and radiation treatments.

 

For the right kind of scenario Cyberknife may be a better option.

 

Matt

corleone's picture
corleone
Posts: 168
Joined: Jul 2012

 In some ways cyberknife is similar to surgery, hence the name. As mentioned by other forum members, the problem with both is that you can’t (usually) be sure that you take out all the tumor cells. You eliminate a visible mass or masses, but it’s enough if some cells (even one cancerous stem cell) remain in place. So you need some other technology that kills all of these bastards, wherever they are located, in the vicinity or further away. Fortunately (if one can say that) the NPC and other H&N tumor have a more locoregional spread (at least in the initial stages), meaning that even in stages III and IVA the tumor cells are located in the H&N area, so they can be eliminated by rads delivered in that region (and of course, chemo). Having said that, you could use (hypothetically) surgery, cyberknife, radiation and chemo altogether. Surgery is not usually done for NPC (except for selected cases, because there are here vital organs that can be easily affected); cyberknife doesn’t have this disadvantage, but the radiation (IMRT) kills the cells in the region anyway, would be redundant (and would also add the risks associated with the procedure).

 

phrannie51's picture
phrannie51
Posts: 3780
Joined: Mar 2012

treatment for Stage III NPC, and for me radiation and chemo are well worth the side effects.....the side effects for me aren't hard to live with at all.  Lack of saliva (use water to eat)......lack of taste?  It's slowly coming back, and I seem to enjoy eating enough to get calories in everyday.....it's not like before, but it's not misery by any means. 

I've been back to work for 4 months, I'm doing the things I've always done.....care for my horses and my dog.....work my job....tho I sleep more (something I should have been doing in the past but didn't)....

I was scared of the treatment too...but more scared of dying.....the side effects you read about are ALL possible scenerio's....they don't all happen to each and every person.  This made the gamble worth taking.

p

GailS226
Posts: 1
Joined: Feb 2013

CyberKnife is a very targeted type of radiation which ablates the tumor rather than removing the tumor by giving doses high enough to kill the cancer in 1 to 5 treatments. CyberKnife treats from up to 1200 diferent angles where conventional radiation therapy equipment aims the beam in an arc rotation of 0 to 360 degrees the CyberKnife is mounted on a robotic arm that moves much like your arm so 1200 angles are achieved. The radiation treatment on CyberKnife is delivered in about 150 different angles while conventional radiation equipment treats in 6 to 8 angles. CyberKnife uses doses of 600 cGy to 2000 cGy per treatment while conventional radiation is given in 180 cGy to 200 cGy per treatment.

The reason H&N patients don't get CyberKnife treatments is that they usually have disease in the lymph nodes of the neck so they need treatment to a larger field or area. If for some reason the tumor is not controlled with conventional radiation therapy or chemo and the tumor returns then the patient could get CyberKnife treatment to that recurrence. That is the real beauty of CyberKnife being able to treat areas such as the spine, lung, brain that have already received the maximum amount of treatment with conventional radiation. This is achieved by limiting dose to critical structures like spinal cord, brainstem or bowel while delivering ablative doses to the tumor.

Many patients that would have had no other options now have CyberKnife to keep them going.

Hope this helps.

Good Luck!

 

Isabel8
Posts: 3
Joined: Feb 2013

Hi thank you all for your replies, you guys are very knowledgeable.

Hi phrannie, I'm glad your having a smooth recovery, I read that you used Mugard during treatment to help with mouth sores, do you think that's the main reason why your able to cope better? This product is not available in my country though.

 

sonyk728's picture
sonyk728
Posts: 104
Joined: Jun 2011

Yep, it killed the spot on my lung after 2 chemos and rads but still a new spot showed up. About to have a follow up at the end of March. Wish me luck! 

phrannie51's picture
phrannie51
Posts: 3780
Joined: Mar 2012

helped a lot during radiation....I started getting a couple of sores on my lips, and the Mugard hit them right away, and I didn't get any more during the 7 weeks of rads.  When I started the 5FU chemo treatments, the mouths sores came at a high rate of speed....like I took off the fanny pack on Sat. afternoon, and my mouth and lips were covered by Sunday night.  The Mugard couldn't keep up with the damage, and it stung too much to use it....so I didn't. 

Sonya....sending you positive thoughts for the end of March.

p

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