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Common Cancer Treatment Terms

Patients coping with a cancer diagnosis may hear unfamiliar medical terms related to their disease and its treatment. We’ve chosen three common cancer treatment terms and provided brief overviews of what they mean below.

Ablation or Ablative: Refers to surgical removal of tissue. When discussing CyberKnife treatment, ablation refers to the process of destroying and killing cancer cells with high-dose, precisely targeted radiation. You may hear a physician say CyberKnife delivers ablative doses of radiation to a tumor.

Local Control: Refers to cancer that hasn’t grown and progressed and remains at the original tumor site. Radiation is used for local control of cancer cells at the site of the tumor. CyberKnife has been shown to provide excellent local control rates for several types of primary and metastatic cancers. Click here for a list of studies.

5-Year Survival Rate: Refers to the percentage of patients who are alive at least 5 years after their cancer diagnosis. Many of these people live much longer than 5 years after diagnosis, but the 5-year rate is used as a standard way to discuss a patient’s prognosis, or outlook for survival. To read about 5- and 10-year research data related to CyberKnife, check out our blog posts on prostate cancer and lung cancer.

This is not intended as medical advice to replace the expertise and judgment of your health care team. It is intended to help you and your family make informed decisions, together with your doctor.