In the treatment of cancer, the CyberKnife is state of the art technology. The CyberKnife works by sending directed beams of ionizing radiation to treat cancer in the body.
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Cyberknife: Robotic Radiosurgery System Rebecca Fox: In the treatment of cancer what you are watching is state-of-the-art technology. It's called the Cyberknife Robotic Radiosurgery System. This technology is found in less than eighty medical centers worldwide. Dr. Curtis Worthington: The Cyberknife is not a surgical tool in the conventional sense, nor is it a radiation therapy tool in the conventional sense. But it's new and unique in being able to combine principals from different disciplines to create something that can be very, very helpful to patients. Rebecca Fox: The non-invasive cyberknife works by sending directed beams of ionizing radiation to treat cancer anywhere on the body including the brain, spine, lung, liver, prostate and pancreas. Dr. Mary Decker: What we are trying to do in radiation oncology is hit the target, which is the cancer and not hit the surrounding radiation sensitive structures and this is what allows us to do that with extreme precision, we can't get a couple of millimeters, we can't do that with any other technology, other than you know the gamma knife which can only treat the head. Rebecca Fox: Doctors explain the cyberknife is so precise because it's robotics detect any tumor or patient movement and automatically adjust treatment. Dr. Mary Decker: When you breathe, your kidneys move, who knew? We didn't know until we started to do these kind of live actions CTs. Your kidneys move, your stomach moves, your bowel moves, everything is always moving and you think well, why can't you just catch up with that. Well, we don't have a way of really being able to measure that motion until we came up with a technology like this. Rebecca Fox: Because the cyberknife is so accurate, doctors using it say it minimizes the impact to surrounding healthy tissue and critical structures. For some people, this is an alternative to conventional open surgery. Dr. Curtis Worthington: It's a big deal but you know it's not as big a deal for the patient as either radiation therapy or open surgery, people look at surgery with a great deal of anxiety, and going under anesthesia, the discomfort and then recovery and all of that. With radio surgery aren't an issue at all, it's all an outpatient procedure, it's completely painless, it's very easy on the patient. So, if it's an appropriate option for that patient and isn't an appropriate option for everybody. But when you have got the right case, the right person, it's going to be much more desirable for them than almost anything else. Rebecca Fox: Doctors Worthington and Decker emphasized the cyberknife does not replace traditional surgery for all cancer patients. It may not be an option for cancer patients with operable tumors who are physically able to go through open surgery, but they say cyberknife does provide new hope to many others. Dr. Mary Decker: These are people who, there would be nothing we could do. Generally they had cancer and we could medicate their pain, but there was nothing much else we could do for their symptoms. We may not change the outcome of their disease but we can make their quality of life issues much, much better. Rebecca Fox: For more information on the cyberknife, and if it's an option for you or someone you know, click in the healthcare technology section of icyou.com. For icyou.com, I am Rebecca Fox.

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