Traditional radiation therapy often requires weeks of hospital visits and can leave patients nauseated, fatigued and in pain. Now, with CyberKnife® M6™ Series robotic radiation technology, patients at Southeast Georgia Health System are experiencing fewer side effects while receiving the latest cancer treatments.
Southeast Georgia Health System is the first cancer center in Georgia to offer the new CyberKnife M6 Series robotic radiation delivery system. The M6 Series, featuring enhanced precision that shortens treatment times, replaces the original CyberKnife technology that the Health System has used since 2011.
“Instead of giving patients five treatments per week for many weeks with conventional radiation therapy, we can achieve better results in just five days with CyberKnife therapy,” says Timothy A. Jamieson, M.D., Ph.D., board-certified radiation oncologist and medical director of the Health System’s Cancer Care Centers and CyberKnife program.
Despite the name, CyberKnife treatment is noninvasive: there is no surgery. Instead, the “knife” refers to the precision with which the radiation is delivered. The system uses real-time imaging, constantly tracking the tumor and adjusting to its size and shape to avoid damaging healthy cells.
“The side effects are minimal, the cure rate is extremely high, and there is minimal disruption to the patient’s daily activities and work,” Jamieson says. “Not only is it convenient, it’s also very effective.”
Advanced Treatment for More Types of Cancer with Fewer Side Effects
The Health System’s Cancer Care Center on the Brunswick Campus uses CyberKnife to treat many types of cancer, including prostate, lung, breast, brain and liver cancers, as well as acoustic neuroma, recurrent and metastatic disease, and other tumors that are inoperable or complex.
“The M6 Series with Multi-leafed collimators (MLC) allows us to treat a wider range of cancers, including larger and irregular shaped tumors that we could not treat before with CyberKnife therapy,” explains David McNally, Ph.D., DABR, chief medical physicist.
For patients with prostate cancer, CyberKnife radiation can now be delivered over just five consecutive days, with an average treatment time of less than 30 minutes. “The shorter times and greater accuracy mean patients are experiencing fewer issues that are typically associated with radiation therapy,” says McNally. “In most cases the side effects last a few weeks at most and are more of a nuisance than anything.” Similarly, lung cancer patients are preserving more lung function because the CyberKnife avoids delivering radiation to healthy lung tissue.
Patients interested in CyberKnife therapy can contact the Health System CyberKnife nurse navigator at 800-537-5142, ext. 5149, and if they seem like a good candidate for the treatment, a consultation can be scheduled. “Because the treatments only last a week, a lot of patients are coming in from farther away for treatment,” says Jamieson. “CyberKnife is also less expensive than other forms of radiation therapy – it’s up to 80 percent less expensive than other advanced treatments like proton therapy and is actually less expensive than traditional therapies as well. We have treated more prostates on the Cyberknife than any other center in the Southeastern United States. We cure over 95% of patients treated.”
Already one of the busiest CyberKnife centers in the country, the Health System treats about 300 patients annually. “With the CyberKnife M6, we expect to attract even more cancer patients throughout the region,” says Jamieson.