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Cyberknife Side Effects

Posts: 3
Joined: Feb 2018


 I had CK for prostate cancer in November 2016. Since receiving the treatment, I have developed severe heartburn, which keeps progressing. The acid is affecting my teeth ( I had to have one pulled), and I am sure that it will only be a matter of time, before there will be more. Additionally, I am losing my ability to produce saliva, and I sometimes become nausious. My eyes are dry and burn and there is a slight numbing in my face. All of these symptoms / problems developed (and are getting progressively worse) after CK. 

During treatment, there was concern on my part about the mechanical integrity of the unit (the "head" of the device was not stationary (wiggled) after being positioned by the robotic arm). I regret that I did not address this issue with the folks providing the treatment, and I dismissed the unstable movement of the machine to excessive worry (about the cancer / treatment). Has anyone had a similar experience?




VascodaGama's picture
Posts: 3371
Joined: Nov 2010


Are you absolutely sure that your case with saliva and other issues in the head are due to the side effects from Cyberknife treatment? Radiation effects at the pelvis are hard to connect with problems in the head. Did your treatment protocol include hormonal drugs?
Surely if the RT has damaged the spinal medulla the immune system could be affected and become ineffective. What is your blood count?

Over exposure to radiation can occur but it is difficult to prove. You sensations could be a psychological effect created from your fear while seeing the machine's RT delivering head moving around during treatment.

I would recommend you to get a total lipids test to try finding the reason of the effects. I hope your condition improves. You may consult a psychologist too.

Welcome to the board.

Best wishes,



Posts: 3
Joined: Feb 2018

 Thanks for suggesting that the problem might be in my head. I will be sure to mention it to my Dentist...and I will need to remind myself when I am coughing from a dry throat and tonight. Great response on your part...THANKS!

hopeful and opt...
Posts: 2331
Joined: Apr 2009


As far as I  know, these symptoms are not caused be radiaiton treatments, but something elee. As a first step, I suggest that you consult with your internist  to determine what is happening, and the specialist that you will need to see. I believe that this is  a physical condition that is occurring,

Here is google of some of your symptoms.... something that you may wish to bring to the attention of your internist for a medical opinion is GERD.


Posts: 473
Joined: Mar 2017

I myself have had GERD issues and you should deal with this soon. Prolonged GERD issues can lead to Barretts Esophagus and that can in turn lead to more serious consequences. If you see a Gastroenterologist (GE) they will likely put you on a proton pump inhibitor, like Prilosec, but that should only be a brief period and is not for prolonged use... It inhibits the production of hydrochloric acid to keep stomach acid from doing further damage to a compromised GE tract.

Be careful of the mechanics fallacy here. If something goes wrong in two places of your vehicle coincidentally, they may or may not be related. If you get one problem fixed, and the other problem flares up, you have to diagnose the new problem as a separate issue. 

It's also possible that you have developed new food sensitivities. I myself as I have gotten older, cannot eat things with abandon that I have eaten all my life. And there may also be new environmental factors affecting you that you would never expect could cause GERD symptoms. Or it can be a combination of many things, including your last procedures.

One helpful solution you can begin immediately is "left side sleeping". If you are overproducing stomach acid, if you don't left side sleep, the acid will erode the valve at the esophagues and begin bathing your esophagus and mouth in acid as you sleep at night, because your stomach is U shaped, and is upside down U when you sleep on right side. This leads to severe consequences over a long period.

The GPs and the GEs never told me about this, but it is absolutely true from my experience. No it won't reduce the acid production, it may take a  ppi to do that, but it will help keep the acid from running downhill while you sleep at night.

Good luck and God bless.

Posts: 473
Joined: Mar 2017

Posts: 473
Joined: Mar 2017

There are other benefits to left side sleeping:

"According to Ayurvedic medicine, sleeping on your left sideallows your body to better filter lymph fluid and waste via the lymph nodes as the left side of our body is the dominant lymphatic side. Western research has also found that sleeping on the left side can help the body process waste materials from the brain. In contrast, sleeping on your right side can decrease the lymphatic system’s efficiency".

 left side sleeping has its detractors. Those detractors don't deal with far more serious GERD symptoms.

Max Former Hodgkins Stage 3's picture
Max Former Hodg...
Posts: 3666
Joined: May 2012


I have had severe GERD for 30 years now, and you are correct: Sleeping on the left is very advantageous.  By "severe" I mean that my diaphram was dislocated in a wreck, and the stomach spincter between the escophagus and stomach no longer works.  In fact, when sitting, I often produce a grunting noise, which everyone around me can clearly hear.  My GI surgeon says it is the top of my stomach rubbing in and out of the diaphram. 

Ultrasound shows that my spincter has no effect in closing the stomach -- as bad as it can get.  I require two Nexium daily, often supplemented with large doses of baking soda.  Amazingly, when I had an upper GI five years ago, it showed no erosions at all.



Posts: 473
Joined: Mar 2017

Something else should be mentioned. The barrage of antibiotics I had to take for my prostate issues and the RP kills off your GI flora as well. That has to be replaced with probiotics or you may not be able to break down amino acids, causing your GI system to secrete ever more acid. Just another variable to consider.

You may need to see a Gastroenterologist... But just like Davinci surgeons, you need to find a good one. This is no time for amateurs to be learning their trade if your issues are that severe.

RobLee's picture
Posts: 264
Joined: Feb 2017

I was not eligible for CK due to adverse pathology, however I did receive adjuvant IMRT radiation a year after my prostatectomy, and I Varian machine used for radiation is very similar to the ones used for CK.  During several of the treatments they appeared to have some trouble with the machine. It would pause for a few seconds (which seemed like minutes) before continuing and a couple times even seemed to start over.  Yes, I was concerned about it, mentioned it to the staff and they just said yes there was a problem but there are numerous safeguards built in.

Now I need to mention that the most common age for men to be diagnosed and treated for prostate cancer is in their sixties. The average is age 66.  Often by that age, there have been other medical conditions develop.  You haven't mentioned your age, but many of your symptoms do sound familiar to me.  I have had GERD for twenty years and Barrett's esophagus for ten, and now have taken PPI's (Prevacid or Nexium) EVERY DAY for over a decade.  I discovered the "left side sleeping" on my own and have had to be very careful what I eat and when.  Still, I have to get a biopsy of my esophagus every two years.

Also I've lost some teeth. I have lots of crowns and a couple of implants in my mouth, because I grew up before floridation became commonplace. Three of those crowns and one implant are new within the past six months, as was my prostate radiation. And I also have a salivary gland surgically removed and have had dry mouth problems ever since. I am saying this because at around the same age that we typically develop prostate cancer, our bodies just begin to fall apart. It's like owning a ten year old car... eventually you have to start replacing some expensive parts.

Now there is something that will in fact cause you to lose teeth and dry up your saliva and that is "whole head radiation" or direct radiation to the jaw and neck to treat Oropharyngeal Cancer. A similar machine is used to treat OPC as is used for prostate cancer. For OPC the patient must undergo seven weeks of daily radiation while wearing a restrictive mask that keeps them from moving. I believe that the only way you could have received enough radiation to cause the symptoms you have would have been for the "head" of the machine to have been directly over your head.

I'm going to agree with most of the others here that everything probably went well during your prostate treatment and that you probably have another medical problem that you need to look into. We all want to believe that everything that happens to us was caused by something, but that's not always the case. Stuff just happens.

Posts: 693
Joined: Jun 2015


Vasco had some good thoughts, it could be related to your nerves causing excess acid thus the Gerds or it could be some other form of medicine combo that is causing your problems.  Good time to see a internal medicine doctor and see what's going on.

I doubt very seriously if it was directly related to the CK treatment but your symptoms can be caused by a variety of other problems not related to CK.


Dave 3+4

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