Stereotactic Body Radiation (SBRT) and CyberKnife in the Treatment of Prostate Cancer

Stereotactic Body Radiation (SBRT) accurately delivers very high doses of external radiation beams to the whole prostate gland thereby treating the tumor within while minimizing extra-prostactic radiation exposure to the adjacent normal tissues.  Because SBRT delivers a much higher dose of radiation during each treatment visit, the overall treatment time is sharply reduced. Generally a full course of therapy can be completed in 4-5 sessions over the course of 1-2 weeks.  Other radiation treatments for prostate cancer often require approximately 35-45 sessions over 6-9 weeks.  SBRT for low and intermediate-risk prostate cancer is covered by Medicare in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.  In addition, most private insurance payers and health exchange insurers cover SBRT treatment for prostate cancer.  A full report on SBRT was published in the January 22nd, 2015 issue of Frontiers of Oncology.  The full article can be viewed at http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fonc.2014.00369/abstract.

The prostate gland can move unpredictably throughout the course of treatment making the ability to track, detect and correct for motion during treatment critically important.  CyberKnife is one of several SBRT systems available but it is the only system that is entirely robotic.  In fact. the prostate has been documented to move as much as 5 millimeters in less than 30 seconds because of normal patient bodily functions such as filling the bladder, gas in the bowel or even slight patient movement during the procedure.  Unlike other radiation treatments, the CyberKnife system continually tracks and automatically corrects the radiation beam to adjust for movement of the prostate in real-time throughout the entire treatment session.  This capability enhances the doctor’s ability to accurately deliver high doses of radiation to the intended target while still preserving the surrounding healthy tissue to minimize potential side effects.  For contact information for centers specifically offering the CyberKnife System for prostate cancer, visit http://www.cyberknife.com.

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