In November, the moustache is king. Movember is a month-long initiative to bring awareness to men’s health issues, particularly prostate cancer. In the spirit of Movember, we asked Eric Gressen, MD, some common questions from patients about CyberKnife treatment for prostate cancer. Dr. Gressen is a clinical professor and a Jefferson Health physician in the Department of Radiation Oncology and Radiosurgery.
1. What makes CyberKnife different from other treatment options for prostate cancer?
The CyberKnife system uses imaging software to track and continually adjust treatment for any movement of the prostate. The prostate gland can move unpredictably throughout the course of treatment, making the ability to track, detect, and correct for motion critically important. In fact, the prostate has been documented to move as much as 10mm in as little as 30 seconds due to normal patient bodily functions such as filling of the bladder, gas in the bowel, or even slight patient movement during the procedure. Unlike any other radiation treatment, the CyberKnife system automatically corrects the beam for movement of the prostate in real-time throughout the entire treatment session.
2. What are the benefits of treating prostate cancer with CyberKnife?
The entire CyberKnife treatment for prostate cancer can be completed within five sessions, compared to conventional radiation therapy which typically takes 35 to 45 sessions. CyberKnife is a pain-free, anesthesia-free procedure with no recovery time. After treatment, patients can immediately resume their normal activity. At Jefferson’s CyberKnife, which is located in Bensalem, Pa., we offer free parking steps away from the main entrance — no parking garage, no fee, no hassle.
3. Are there any adverse effects to CyberKnife treatment?
The ability to deliver precise doses of radiation allows physicians to limit exposure to surrounding healthy tissue and minimize negative side effects on urinary, bowel, and sexual function that can reduce a patient’s quality of life. CyberKnife patients routinely report that they have minimal adverse effects from their treatment, and in most cases, they can immediately return to their normal daily activities.
4. Who qualifies for prostate CyberKnife treatment?
The American Urological Association (AUA), the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO), and the Society for Urologic Oncology (SUO) support CyberKnife for select low- and intermediate-risk prostate cancer. CyberKnife treatment for prostate cancer is covered by Medicare in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Most private insurance payers also cover this treatment for prostate cancer. To find out if you are a candidate for CyberKnife, please call 215-244-7407 to speak to one of our CyberKnife specialists.
5. How effective is CyberKnife treatment for prostate cancer?
The FDA provided approval for the CyberKnife system in 2001 for treatments anywhere in the body, including the prostate. Clinical studies support the effectiveness of CyberKnife treatment for low and intermediate prostate cancer. Thousands of prostate cancer patients have been followed on national registries marking excellent results.
Following a prostate cancer diagnosis, men are faced with numerous options including active surveillance, radical prostatectomy, and radiation therapy. Each man should consult with his physician regarding his own specific case. Among the considerations that a physician will factor into a treatment recommendation are the patient’s health, age, lifestyle, and the individual’s cancer aggressiveness, often referred to as risk profile.
For more information, please call Jennifer Perri, RN, CyberKnife Nursing Coordinator: 215-244-7407 or visit JeffersonHealth.org/CyberKnife.