This month, Oklahoma CyberKnife reaches its five-year anniversary treating cancer patients throughout the Midwest. A service of Hillcrest Medical Center, Oklahoma CyberKnife has treated more than 1,000 patients since opening in 2008.
Patients from across the region, including Kansas, Arkansas and Missouri, have sought out Oklahoma CyberKnife to receive treatment using CyberKnife® technology, an advanced nonsurgical option for the treatment of malignant and benign tumors. Approximately two-thirds of patients treated at Oklahoma CyberKnife have come from outside of the center’s primary service area.
“Each anniversary we celebrate constitutes not only a deepening of our relationship with the cancer community, but also steady growth in our expertise,” said Dr. Diane Heaton, Oklahoma CyberKnife medical director.
In recent years, Oklahoma CyberKnife has become one of the area’s leading cancer centers in treating tumors of the lung, brain and prostate using CyberKnife stereotactic body radiation therapy. During this method of treatment, the CyberKnife delivers very precise high-dose radiation beams to tumors from a variety of angles. Patients are typically treated in five or fewer sessions and experience few to no side effects following treatment. As an added benefit, CyberKnife tracks tumors in real time and adjusts for patient movement during treatment, which minimizes radiation exposure to healthy tissue surrounding tumors.
In addition to treating cancerous tumors, Oklahoma CyberKnife has treated nearly 100 patients with trigeminal neuralgia, a debilitating nerve disorder characterized by extreme facial pain. As the first physician to perform stereotactic radiosurgery in the state of Oklahoma, Dr. Heaton has extensive experience treating this condition using CyberKnife.
“Just as the CyberKnife delivers radiation to tumors with sub-millimeter accuracy, we can deliver highly focused radiation to the trigeminal neuralgia nerve to interrupt pain-causing fibers,” Dr. Heaton said. “This pinpoint accuracy can reduce side effects associated with pain medication or invasive treatment methods, and TN patients can typically return to normal activity after procedures.”
In addition to treating non-cancerous conditions like trigeminal neuralgia, CyberKnife stereotactic body radiation therapy is gaining attention as an effective treatment for prostate cancer. In 2013, the American Society for Radiation Oncology endorsed SBRT as a first line treatment option for prostate cancer. This means SBRT can be considered a primary form of treatment for prostate cancer.
“With five or fewer procedures required for treating prostate cancer, the ease of CyberKnife treatment and ability to return quickly to normal routines with minimal side effects draws many men with this disease,” Dr. Heaton said. “There is also a growing library of clinical data affirming the procedure is a safe and effective method of treatment for prostate cancer.”