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Need some info on cyberknife

Lifeisajourney
Posts: 217
Joined: Apr 2010

I am Stage 4 mets to liver, resection did not work, liver not so great. Don't want chemo for now or Sir Spheres, I brought up cyberknife to onc, he refer me to local hospital that has it. He is not giving me much info, as he does not know alot about it. Can you help with some info before I go to see the other dr. Wonder if Medicare would appove it also. Thanks, Pat

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Sundanceh
Posts: 4408
Joined: Jun 2009

Pat

I had it done on the liver after my RFA procedure there. They would insert beads in and around the tumor site to target the area in question. Then, the liver surgeon and radiation oncologist would confer and in effect, design the X's and O's game plan on where and how much radiation to deliver to the area.

You would be fitted in a mold or cradle. Your arms would be extended over your head for the treatments. Treatments are typically 2 hours and are usually between 3-5 sessions.

You would be equipped with what looks like a life vest with wires attached to the suit. This is the Cyber Knife suit. Once in the cradle, these wires are attached to the device itself. It's purpose is to compensate the device for your breathing IN and OUT during the treatment cycle, so as to keep the device on target and not damaging other tissue.

The treatment is not painful, but you would likely experience some fatigue when it all ended. After a week or so, you would recover and regain your strength. It is radiation although it's often referred to as "radio surgery."

It differs from conventional radiation in the fact that it delivers highly concentrated radiation over a shorter time with pinpoint accuracy, while convential radiation is a shorter duration per session but over a longer period of time.

I can tell you that it's hard on the shoulders to keep your arms extended over your head for 2 hours, even in the form. You can signal for a break, they will tell you how. I clinches my fists in and out and they would stop and come in and I could take my arms out and give it a minute or so rest.

If you have to go to the bathroom, try not to - if you do, they have to recalibrate the equipment and start all the way back over. Nurses and staff get a little pi$$sed off and it sets the other patients back that much time accordingly.

I did that twice and the glares that I got, but I could not help it. They may offer you a sedative like a shot of morphine or a valium or something to avoid that. You will be laying flat on your back and there may be a television above you, and they will let you watch a DVD while the treatment is in progess.

Well, that's the way I remember it. Good luck to you. It is a good procedure to utilize.

-Craig

Lifeisajourney
Posts: 217
Joined: Apr 2010

have heard good and bad. Would inserting beads be like a liver biopsy??? Have misgivings about everything right now, know all you have been thru...my onc would prefer chemo as it attacks future growths also, but he is leaving it up to me. He like Sir Spheres, but I find that a little too invasive.....right now I feel like doing nothing because I don't feel great anyway. chemo would be bad for my colon and I have to see gastr tomorrow regarding left sided pain...thanks Craig, appreciate the input.

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Sundanceh
Posts: 4408
Joined: Jun 2009

It may very well go that way, Pat. The beads inserted like the biopsy needle. I did not have mine done that way.

They opened me up to a complete liver resection, but then found I was not a successful candidate - surgeon later said I would have died on the table.

So they switched over to RFA to burn the tumor out of there. While I was already opened up (had the full open procedure, no laprascopic) the surgeon had the foresight to insert the beads at that time for Cyber Knife treatment when I recovered from the RFA.

RFA and Cyber Knife did take care of the tumor locally, but since we were already systemic as I had just gone to stage 4, I did the Folfox, Avastin, Xeloda in some combination for about 11-months.

Unfortunately, I recurred for the 3rd time when it landed on the pleura of my lung. And since I've had 7-wedge resections of the right lung and 2 ribs removed. 30x treatment of IMRT radiation w/5fu pump and 12 more rounds of chemo, Folfiri this last time through.

So, this might be a success at the local level as mine was. But you can't discount the fact that other pockets of activity are not active elsewhere - which I'm sure is why you're onc is leaning for you to do the chemo.

This procedure + chemo improves the situation but I understand your hesitancy and concern about wanting to do more chemo. I've done it 51x and it just wears a body out too.

As always, I support whichever methodology that you choose. I wish there wre easy answers, but you know as well as I do that there aren't any.

I've done surgeries, radiation, and chemo and still recurred 3x. I just did the full boat this past year and am 'watch and wait' again for the 3rd time. That makes me 3-0 and I still consider myself a success story on this board.

I'm hopeful that #4 is not down the road, though I somehow suspect I will see him again. That's the problem with stage 4 - it's systemic and therefore aggressive and therefore hard to contain, despite our best efforts.

But anytime we can do as much as we can, we improve our odds.

It was nice talking to you and hope this has been of some help for you as you make the decisions on how to proceed with your case.

-Craig

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