The race to develop a more effective radiation treatment system is never-ending. New systems and techniques are developed regularly to treat a variety of cancers, which is great news for cancer patients.
Two of the most effective stereotactic radiation therapy systems (SBRT) out there today are the Cyberknife Robotic Radiosurgery System and the TrueBeam radiotherapy system. These two systems have certain similarities. They both rely on precise targeting of tumors using high doses of radiation in a short time frame, minimizing exposure to surrounding structures and healthy tissue.
The CyberKnife system, as used exclusively at Alaska CyberKnife Center, is the older and more proven of the two systems. It has been successfully treating many types of cancers for more than three decades. As the technology improved over the years, it was soon approved to treat cancers in all parts of the body. Numerous clinical trials have proven the CyberKnife system’s effectiveness. Similarities between the CyberKnife and TrueBeam systems include:
Treat Same Cancers: In general, types and stages of cancer that are treatable with CyberKnife are also treatable with TrueBeam, including tumors in certain parts of the body, such as the head, neck, lungs, abdomen, breast, liver, pelvis, and prostate. The CyberKnife does have advantage in the treatment of brain and spine tumors due to its more flexible reach. But, CyberKnife does not treat large tumors, or soft tissue tumors like those found in the bladder.
Same Precision Treatment: Both systems use a precision imaging to track the slightest movement of your tumor and insure the radiation is delivered only to cancerous cells, sparing the healthy tissue and structures around the tumor. The CyberKnife system has two built-in diagnostic X-ray sources and detectors imaging the patients at all times and adjusting the robot arm position based on any tumor movement or change. The TrueBeam system relies on real-time images from CT scanners allowing doctors to “see” the tumor they are treating.
Beam Shaping: The radiation beams on both machines can be manipulated to better make contact only with the tumor. The CyberKnife relies on the robotic system to change the shape and position of the beams to track the tumor, while the TrueBeam relies on the radiation therapy technologist to make the adjustments.
Comfortable Treatment: Both CyberKnife and TrueBeam use comfortable, molded treatment couches. They both also utilize flexible mesh masks for brain, head, and neck cancers, rather than the rigid head frames bolted into the table used by the Gamma Knife treatment. This more comfortable process is possible because the imaging systems track the tumor movement, even as you breathe.
Communication: Both systems allow for two-way continuous audio and video communication with the radiologist during treatment.
The most noticeable differences between the CyberKnife and TrueBeam radiation systems are the machine itself, and radiation levels.
Range: The TrueBeam machine rotates around the patient to beam radiation and can reach the tumor from many angles. However, the CyberKnife offers more freedom of movement, using a unique flexible robotic arm that moves easily around the patient allowing it to reach almost any angle successfully treating even hard-to-reach tumors.
Treatment Time Varies: Depending on the type and stage of cancer you have, the treatment times for the two systems may be different. The CyberKnife is always given in one short treatment per day for up to five days. The TrueBeam treatment could be performed over multiple days or weeks.
Regardless of whether you choose CyberKnife or TrueBeam treatments, the most important thing is that you choose expert radiation oncologists who have the skill and experience to develop targeted treatment plans and make sure they are implemented flawlessly. Our Anchorage CyberKnife treatments are not only clinically proven effective in treating cancer, they are operated by expert radiation oncologists with years of experience in treating all types of cancer. To find out more about the CyberKnife system and how it can deliver the best possible outcomes for your cancer, give us a call at (907) 312-2112 or complete our online consultation form. We would love to tell you more about the benefits of CyberKnife in Anchorage and how it can provide you with the best hope in your fight against cancer.