This month Louisville CyberKnife completes its first year of operations at the James Graham Brown Cancer Center. The center opened last fall as the first program to offer stereotactic body radiation therapy using CyberKnife® technology in Kentuckiana and the second in the state of Kentucky.
The availability of this treatment has been particularly important for lung cancer patients. With one of the highest incidence rates of lung cancer nationwide, patients in western Kentucky and southern Indiana now have access to a nonsurgical mode of treatment that would have previously required travel outside of the area. The center has treated more than 100 lung cancer patients since opening.
“By using CyberKnife for lung cancer treatment we have been able to service a need in this area and offer patients a treatment option that has minimal impact on their daily routine,” said Louisville CyberKnife medical director Dr. Shiao Woo.
With a procedure called stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT), the center treats benign and malignant tumors noninvasively. During treatment, high doses of radiation are delivered to tumors with sub-millimeter accuracy. CyberKnife treatment requires no incisions or sedation and no overnight hospital stay. Treatment is completed in five or fewer sessions, and patients typically experience few to no side effects following treatment.
CyberKnife has a particular advantage for lung tumor patients. Its advanced tracking system has the ability to compensate for normal patient movements, such as breathing, that can slightly shift tumors during treatment. The tracking system maintains extreme precision during the entire procedure, minimizing radiation exposure to healthy surrounding tissue.
Recently completed and ongoing research has continued to demonstrate the efficacy of SBRT for lung tumors. At Louisville CyberKnife, radiation oncologist Dr. Neal Dunlap is currently overseeing a clinical trial examining SBRT treatment for lung cancer in patients who have previously received prior chest radiation.
“We want to provide patients with all the information to make an informed decision on their treatment,” Dr. Dunlap said. “Our clinical trial is one more way we can ensure that we are offering our patients the best and most up to date treatment options.”