CyberKnife Cancer Treatment in Europe
CyberKnife Radiosurgery Package: 11,500 - 17,000 US Dollars
Turkey [US JCI Accredited Hospitals - Affiliated to John Hopkins Medicine]
There was a time when the fact that you had cancer meant, un-ending physical and mental trauma. Today, too, cancer strikes terror in the minds of people but there is hope, where there was little or none. The new cancer eradication option, Cyber Knife, has made possible many a thing that was previously considered impossible in radiology.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the CyberKnife system to treat tumors in the head, neck and upper spine in 1999 and the treatment of tumors anywhere in the body in 2001.
This article focuses on new tumor cures like CyberKnife treatment which can be used to effectively treat liver, brain, prostate, head, kidney, liver, neck, spine, lung, and pancreatic cancers. We will also discuss the pros and cons of CyberKnife and availability of a reputed hospital in Turkey, Europe that has been offering CyberKnife for more than three years now
What is CyberKnife?
Cyber Knife Robotic Radiosurgery System treats tumors anywhere in the body in a non-invasive way. The CyberKnife's technological advancement allows it to track and focus on the tumor in real time even if there is patient movement. The CyberKnife delivers high-dose radiation with pinpoint accuracy, with minimal damage to adjacent healthy tissues and eliminates the need for invasive surgery.
A non-surgical method of cancer treatment, CyberKnife, is made by Accuray and has a robotic arm that directs a 300-pound linear accelerator to emit a high-energy X-ray beam. With a diameter of less than 1 millimeter, the beam perform a pinpointed attack on the cancerous growth without affecting the neighboring normal tissues. For instance, the beam can attack a cancer in the bone of the spinal column without hurting the sensitive spinal cord nearby. It is that accurate.
Where Cyber Knife scores over conventional means of radiotherapy, is the former's ability to have pinpoint accuracy. CyberKnife is a revolutionary non-invasive cancer eradication method as it offers a chance of treatment to even those patients who have inoperable or surgically complex tumors. The CyberKnife has often been used to treat otherwise untreatable tumors and malformations, most of which are unreachable by other stereotactic systems. Due to it being a less invasive radiosurgery it can in some cases be used for children or older patients.
CyberKnife is an advancement over, or refinement of the stereotactic radiosurgery. (Stereotactic radiosurgery involves directs radiation to the tumor and nearby tissues. It is often used to slow down the growth of small, deep brain tumors that are hard to remove with surgery. Such therapy may also be used in patients who are unable to have surgery, such as the elderly or those who are very sick)
Where conventional radiotherapy continues for a long time and has a number of side-effects like fatigue and nausea that also last for a long time after the treatment, CyberKnife treatment is short, performed on an outpatient basis and lasts 30 to 90 minutes, depending on the tumor's complexity and shape. Patients require no anesthesia.
The recovery is remarkably quick; the patient gets rapid relief from pain and other symptoms.
The other advantage that comes with CyberKnife treatment, is that it is flexible. Its maneuverability is unmatched by the conventional radiation systems. The CyberKnife system can treat tumors or lesions in the brain, spine, lung, liver, pancreas and prostate from any angle.
Also, the CyberKnife continually tracks tumor position, detects any tumor or patient movement and automatically corrects the treatment delivery, without having to reposition the patient or interrupt the treatment.
Benefits of CyberKnife over Gamma Knife
The CyberKnife, though similar in concept to the Gamma Knife (both are stereotactic radiosurgeries), has more advantages than the latter. The differences between the two depend on how they produce the radiation, Gamma Knife produces through decaying cobalt and CyberKnife through x-rays. Also, the radiation sources in Gamma Knife is multiple, whereas the CyberKnfe has a linear accelerator system.
Here is a comparison between Gamma Knife and CyberKnife:
1. Gamma Knife is designed exclusively for non-invasive brain surgery, whereas CyberKnife is not exclusive to brain surgery. CyberKnife can treat even those lesions in parts of the body which move with respiration. This is possible because of image guidance.
2. While the Gamma Knife treats with multiple beams simultaneously from a 201-source cobalt unit, the CyberKnife uses a single high energy photon beam fixed to a robot arm (single-source linear accelerator). The CyberKnife's megavoltage x-rays are over four times more powerful than the energy from Cobalt used in the Gamma Knife.
3. Gamma Knife is a frame-based system, whereas CyberKnife is a flexible, frameless system. Thus, the CyberKnife allows a single-session or multi-session treatments, as necessary. This lets you're treating physicians decide the safest and most effective course of treatment.
4. CyberKnife does not require a head frame screwed into the skull for immobilization, avoiding the pain, headache, nausea, and risk of infection seen sometimes with stereotactic frames like Gamma Knife.
5. The small size of the Gamma Knife collimators may spare critical tissues from radiation, but can create difficulty in treating lesions larger than 3-4 cm.
Surgery versus CyberKnife Radiosurgery
CyberKnife Radiosurgery is not surgery as is generally thought. It is an excellent alternative treatment for tumors and lesions, which cannot be accessed or removed by conventional surgery. CyberKnife Radiosurgery destroys tumors with highly precise beams of radiation quickly, painlessly and without downtime or hospital stays - all advantages over conventional surgery. Also with CyberKnife Radiosurgery there are no risks of infection or bleeding that come with open surgery.
Other benefits that come with CyberKnife RadioSurgery are short-term treatment time in an outpatient setting with rapid recovery and symptomatic response. The simple outpatient procedure allows you to undergo your treatment and immediately resume normal activities. CyberKnife can also be used to control aggressive benign tumors that have progressed despite surgery and/or conventional radiation.
The Price of CyberKnife Cancer Treatment
Hospitals have to invest nearly $4 million in a CyberKnife system. Also the use of CyberKnife is restricted because of certain conditions such as:
- CyberKnife is often not recommended for use near vital organs as it emits concentrated beams of radiation.
- CyberKnife is usually recommended only when the cancer is concentrated in an area no bigger than 6 centimeters because treating anything larger or more spread out with the powerful beam could damage other parts of the body.
Because of these conditions and the huge initial investment, the market for CyberKnife treatment is not very big. CyberKnife treatment is also not widely available - just about 80 centers across the world, 25-30 of which are in the US. Hence, CyberKnife treatment, especially in the US, works out to be very expensive from $25,000 to $65,000.
The video below is from Accuray, the manufacturer of CyberKnife Robotic Radiosurgery System. It explains the procedure in detail and features testimonies from satisfied patients and also what doctors have to say about CyberKnife. People of various ages and cancer conditions talk about how CyberKnife, improved their quality of life.