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Cyberknife Treats Prostate Cancer in Less Time

NORWOOD, Ohio (Liz Bonis) -- Breakthrough technology to help beat prostate cancer is now in the Tri-State. The Urology Group in Norwood is the among the first in the nation to use a robotic radiation delivery system which reduces the odds of serious side effects. Medical reporter Liz Bonis shows us how it works in today's Medical Edge.

It is called the cyberknife but it involves no cutting. Instead it is a robotic delivery system for high dose radiation that can be given to prostate cancer patients in a lot less time than traditional radiation. Urologist Dr. Gary Kirsh says, "the cyberknife technology allows us to take the eight week beam treatment, because of it's accuracy we can compress treatment into one week, five treatments only.

Here's how it works: prior to the treatment markers are placed in the prostate area. The markers provide a guide for the cyberknife so that as this image shows, the beam can precisely find its target, "when this patient is treated all those blue lines are all the different angles."

Once this is all calculated prior to treatment, the patient is then treated as the robot tracks the precise position of the prostate. If the prostate moves a little bit during treatment a couple eyes in the sky follow it with x-ray imaging and recalculate in real time for the delivery system, "it allows us to deliver more precisely than we've been able to do in the past."

The team here is careful to point out that this in not necessarily replacement for surgical treatment, but if radiation is recommended, it is a newer option which perhaps may offer fewer side effects. Says Dr. Kirsh, "what we know most about is the urinary symptoms, urinary symptoms with this approach are thought to be less dramatic than with for example the seed implant or even with the regular eight week beam. Sexual function, we expect over time that we will have a similar rate of erectile dysfunction with any form of radiation therapy, the key to this therapy is that is is five treatments instead of many treatments."

The ideal candidate Dr. Kirsh says is someone who has not had prior treatment for prostate cancer. In most cases this treatment is covered by medical insurance plans.




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