Category Archives: Radiation therapy

What’s the Big Deal about the CyberKnife? Why only 5 Treatments?

The Superior Precision of the CyberKnife allows for Only 3-5 Treatments Most Cancers.

Simply put, CyberKnife Stereotactic Ablative Body Radiotherapy, or SABR for short, controls cancers even better than predicted.  For example, the results for patients with early stage lung cancer have been particularly striking. Studies have shown 85-90% cancer control rates with a 3-5 CyberKnife treatments versus only 30% with 30-40 ordinary radiation treatments.  This means that  85-90% of lung cancer patient treated with the CyberKnife got rid of their cancer. That is a huge increase in successful cancer treatment. More people are beating their disease with the CyberKnife than with ordinary radiation therapy.

Because of this success, a lot of research is being done to find out why it is working so well. And to learn how else SABR can be used to treat cancers and other diseases. Here are some cutting-edge facts:

CyberKnife Damages Cancer’s Blood Supply  

  1. In a recent editorial, oncologist Dr. Paul Sperduto and colleagues stated “the literature supporting this phenomenon (high-dose radiation results in indirect tumor cell death) is not fragmentary, but actually quite robust….  However, we have consistently underestimated the role of indirect cell death by devascularization and its possible role in radiation-induced immune enhancement.”  (Int. J Radiation Oncol Biol Phys. 91, No.1,pp121-13, 2015)
  2. When you cut off the blood supply to the cancer cells, they die. Decades of research shows that a few high doses of radiation will damage the blood vessels supplying the tumor. There is now active research combining Avastin, a drug that blocks blood vessel formation and SABR. Using Avastin and the Cyber Knife may double the efforts to cut off the tumor’s blood supply.

 CyberKnife Can Generate an Immune Response to Attack the Cancer

CyberKnife may help unleash your body’s own immune system to fight your cancer. Recent studies suggest that SABR cause the body to release tumor-specific antigens. These antigens are unique molecules released after radiation destruction of cancer and can generate a cancer-specific immune response.  Once again, there is now active research combining SABR, like that delivered by CyberKnife, with the recent FDA approved drugs called immune checkpoint inhibitors.

CyberKnife Tracks Your Cancer As It Moves

Much like a jet-fighter pilot who always has an enemy target in its cross-hairs, CyberKnife can track your lung cancer as it moves with each and every breath.  CyberKnife’s pencil thin beams of radiation can destroy your tumor, while sparing surrounding normal tissues.  Because of this precision, CyberKnife  uses hundreds of beams of radiation instead of 5 – 7 beams delivered with other radiation machines. With the CyberKnife you do not have to hold your breath during treatment. You just lie still and the machine does all the work for you. Each treatment typically takes a mere 25-50 minutes, with plenty of breaks if needed.

It is not just lung cancers that move. Prostate cancer, liver cancer, pancreas cancer, and many other cancers move inside the body. CyberKnife is the only radiation device that directly watches your cancer as it moves, keeping collateral damage to a minimum.

If you or a loved one has cancer, learn all the options. Discover more here. CyberKnife maybe the answer to beating your cancer. Call me to discover how I can help win your fight.

CYBERKNIFE TREATMENT THROUGH THE EYES OF A CHILD

Cancer treatment with the CyberKnife system is so easy for the patient that we would even allow a child to watch. The patient simply lays on a table for 25-60 minutes while the CyberKnife moves around them. They are able to take breaks, sit up or even take a bathroom break if needed. But they do not feel anything. Treatment is painless. They go about their normal day afterwards. Watch and see.

Real Hope for Stage 4 Lung Cancer

An Important Question  

What options are there for stage 4 non-small cell lung cancer patients with limited metastatic disease – the cancer has spread to less than 3 organs other than the lung? 

Study after study have shown that most failures of chemotherapy are exactly at the places of the original lung cancer, and not new sites.  So why not focus on those areas instead of giving more “maintenance” chemotherapy? 

An Important Clinical Trial  

Dr. Daniel Gomez and colleagues spearheaded a clinical trial (ClinicalTrials.gov space NCT01725165) that randomly assigned stage 4 lung patients to “maintenance” chemotherapy versus local therapy (mostly radiation, but some with surgery) versus no treatment at all. 

The multi-center study was published in the British journal called The Lancet Oncology in December 2016, pages 1672-1682.  To be eligible for the clinical trial, stage 4 non-small cell lung cancer patients had standard chemotherapy and were in relatively good shape after chemotherapy treatment. 

A Breakthrough Result 

Although only 74 lung cancer patients were entered into the clinical trial from 2012 to 2016, a real breakthrough result was seen.  The breakthrough result was that the local therapy group (radiation or surgery) survived 12 months versus 4 months for the “maintenance” chemotherapy group.  The clinical trial was closed early because the doctors saw better results in the local therapy group (radiation or surgery) versus the “maintenance” chemotherapy group. 

Where Do You Go from Here?  

As a CyberKnife cancer specialist in Dayton Ohio, CyberKnife offers our stage 4 non-small cell lung cancer patients real hope.  And CyberKnife can help you beat your non-small cell lung cancer without surgery.  No pain and no incisions. Real hope for another year of symptom free survival. 

If you have any questions about your lung cancer, please feel free to call me, Dr. Edward Hughes at 855-Dayton 1.  Or visit our website and I guarantee that I will see you within 1-3 days of your phone call.

Radiation Versus Chemo-Not Even Close

Radiation Therapy alone cures more cancers than Chemotherapy.

Radiation Therapy alone cures more cancers than Chemotherapy.

Radiation therapy, not surprisingly, is easy to demonize. Radiation therapy is often misunderstood not only by patients but also by physicians. But did you know that radiation therapy alone can cure many more cancers, including 2 of the 4 major cancers – like lung cancer and prostate cancer – than chemotherapy?

Chemotherapy alone can cure only the rare solid cancers of choriocarcinoma in women and testicular cancer in men.  Chemotherapy of course can cure a number of hematologic malignancies like leukemia and lymphoma.

Yet it’s the solid tumors – breast cancer, lung cancer, colorectal cancer and prostate cancer – that kill most Americans.  And radiation therapy stands front and center in the battle against those cancers.

Major advances in radiation beam aiming and shaping – like IMRT and high dose rate brachytherapy implants – have reduced collateral damage to surrounding normal tissue.  And stereotactic radiosurgery, like that delivered by Cyber Knife, has done that and more. Cyber Knife has reduced overall radiation treatment times from 6-8 weeks to 3-5 days.

SOLID CANCERS CURED BY                                      SOLID CANCERS CURED BY                                     RADIATION ALONE                                                     CHEMOTHERAPY ALONE     
  • Prostate                                                           Choriocarcinoma in women
  • Head and Neck                                               Testicular Cancer
  • Lung
  • Cervical
  • Skin

Our national meeting is taking place in Boston this week.  The title of the meeting is “Enhancing Value and Improving Outcomes.”  Lots of new information will be presented.  Lots of new technologies and improvements on existing technology will be highlighted.

I wonder if the forest will be lost for the trees?  The real story of radiation therapy over the past 50 years is that radiation therapy alone can cure many more cancers than chemotherapy and at a fraction of the cost.  Yet there is no mention of radiation therapy in the Obamacare “Moon Shot Against Cancer”.

That message has been lost under the burden of Obamacare as radiation therapy reimbursement has been cut dramatically – threatening the future of radiation therapy itself.

If you have any questions about treatment of your cancer, please feel free to call me, Dr. Edward Hughes, at 855-Dayton1.  We are the only cancer center in Dayton that guarantees that you will be seen within 1-3 days of your call, not 1-3 weeks.