Learn more about seeking treatment and the progress of CyberKnife® treatment.
Radiotherapy always requires a referral from the attending physician. Upon receipt of the referral, our hospital's specialist in cancer and radiotherapy will assess whether the treatment can be performed with the CyberKnife® treatment device. For neurosurgical treatments, we ask for a referral to the Neurosurgery Clinic. The doctor's appointment and other necessary times will be notified to the patient by letter.
During the appointment, the doctor will specify the method of radiotherapy and the future treatment schedule.
For some patients, four small, rice-grain-sized, golden markers are placed either in the tumour or in the immediate vicinity of the tumour. Such cases include, for example, prostate cancers. Markers allow the subject to be closely monitored during treatment. In prostate cancer, gold markers are placed by a urologist at a surgery outpatient clinic as a day surgery procedure.
When radiotherapy is given to the head or neck area, the patient is given a personal mold or mask. The mask is a thin plastic mixture that, when warm, shapes to fit the patient's head. The purpose of the mask is to help the patient keep his or her head relaxed during radiotherapy. The mask is made in the radiotherapy unit after the doctor's appointment and before the CT (computed tomography).
Planning CyberKnife® radiotherapy always requires at least CT (computed tomography) imaging. The imaging is done in the radiotherapy unit after the doctor’s appointment. Often, other imaging modalities, such as MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) or vascular imaging (angiography), are also used to accurately locate the subject.
After the doctor's appointment and imaging, the technical planning of the treatment begins. An individual radiotherapy plan is made by the hospital physicist of the radiotherapy unit together with the attending radiologist or neurosurgeon. Usually one week is reserved for making the treatment plan.
Approximately 45 minutes are reserved for treatment. Radiation therapy is performed with the patient in the same position as in the CT scan. The patient can listen to the music or audiobook of their choice during treatment. During the treatment, the patient is alone in the treatment room, but the nurses have visual and audio connection to the room at all times. Radiation therapy cannot be felt at all, and it is a silent procedure.
Single-dose radiation doses with the CyberKnife® treatment device are higher than with traditional radiotherapy. Radiotherapy is usually performed with 1 to 6 radiotherapy visits. Treatment is usually given every second or third working day. For example, a radical prostate radiotherapy cycle includes only 5 treatments and the treatment cycle lasts two weeks.
With CyberKnife®, side effects tend to be less severe than with conventional radiotherapy for the same treatment site. The side effects depend on the area to which the treatment is given. Your doctor will tell you about the side effects that are expected before the start of the treatment period, as well as their prevention and treatment.
Before the end of the radiotherapy period, the patient is booked for a doctor's appointment. At the reception, the doctor will determine when and where the next follow-up visit will be.