CyberKnife provides a pain-free, minimally-invasive option for pancreatic cancer treatment in patients who are poor surgical candidates, those who refuse surgery, and in patients for whom surgery or other treatments have failed.
Treating tumors in and near the pancreas with radiation is challenging because the stomach, bowel, kidneys, and liver are in close proximity to the pancreas, making it difficult to target them safely with radiation. As a result, with traditional radiation therapy, the tumor may not receive enough radiation to destroy it, and healthy tissue near the tumor may be damaged.
CyberKnife’s technology and respiratory tracking system eliminates that problem. It enables the radiation beam to track tumor movement in real time as patients breathe normally, always staying on target, delivering the highest dose of radiation possible, and destroying the tumor without harming healthy surrounding tissue.
Prior to treatment, doctors implant between three to five small metal markers known as fiducials in or near the tumor that enable the CyberKnife to pinpoint the tumor location throughout treatment. Implanting the markers is an outpatient procedure that takes about an hour. About a week later, patients undergo a CT scan that assists in developing a customized treatment plan.
Also, unlike standard radiation therapy in which the total radiation dose is divided into smaller doses over numerous sessions, CyberKnife allows us to destroy tumors with high radiation doses in four to five sessions, depending on the location of the tumor and other factors.