News & Events

Benefits of Stereotactic Radiosurgery for Metastatic Brain Tumors

CCK copyData released by researchers at the University of Washington in Seattle showed a potential for improved survival rates for patients with brain metastases who receive stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS).

The study compared SRS to whole-brain radiation therapy (WBRT) in 413 patients who were diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer and had fewer than four brain metastases. Researchers found that those treated with SRS had an overall survival of nine months compared to 3.9 months for patients treated with WBRT. These findings suggest that improved survival rates could be among the benefits that SRS offers to patients diagnosed with the disease.

At Columbus CyberKnife, we treat brain tumors using CyberKnife SRS, which delivers pinpoint high-dose radiation to tumors in five or fewer outpatient treatments. To learn more about stereotactic radiosurgery for primary and metastatic brain tumors, please contact us.

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.

Wellpoint Anthem Updates Policy to Include Coverage of SBRT for Prostate Cancer

Wellpoint Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, the second largest commercial payer in the United States, recently announced that it has updated its SRS/SBRT policy to cover treatment for early stage prostate cancer.

Stereotactic body radiation therapy, or SBRT, is a powerful, noninvasive treatment approach that targets radiation beams to match the size and shape of a patient’s tumor, minimizing damage to surrounding tissue. At Columbus CyberKnife, prostate cancer patients are treated with this outpatient method using CyberKnife® technology.

The organization attributes its policy change to the matured body of evidence released by numerous research studies and experts in the field that demonstrate acceptance and support of SBRT as a viable treatment option for prostate cancer.

The American Society for Radiation Oncology’s (ASTRO) 2013 Model Policy is among the sources that provided supportive context and rationale for Anthem’s policy update. ASTRO’s expert opinion cited in Anthem’s policy states that the organization believes, “Data supporting the use of SBRT for prostate cancer have matured to a point where SBRT could be considered an appropriate alternative for select patients with low to intermediate risk disease.”

Another notable excerpt from the policy update confirms the length of treatment time associated with SBRT is among the benefits to patients, stating that, “The hypofractionation associated with SBRT shortens the treatment time to five visits, compared to the seven to nine weeks required for IMRT. This shortened treatment time is an aspect appreciated by individuals.”

For more information on Anthem’s SRS/SBRT policy change and medically necessary criteria for SBRT treatment of prostate cancer, click here. For more information on the benefits of CyberKnife treatment, click here.

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.

Research Update: Palliative Care for Metastatic Spinal Tumors

In a recent study titled, “Palliative Strategies for the Management of Primary and Metastatic Spinal Tumors,” researchers examined the methods of treatment for spinal tumor patients who experienced discomfort.

The study notes that stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) assisted patients with long-term pain reduction and increased local control of the disease either as the primary form of treatment, or in combination with other treatment methods.

You can read the full study here.

Columbus CyberKnife treats spinal tumors with SBRT using CyberKnife® technology. This non-invasive procedure is a treatment option that does not require sedation or surgery. Patients are treated within five treatment sessions and typically return to their normal routines immediately following each session.

Learn more about the advantages of CyberKnife treatment for spinal tumors here.

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.

Patient Education: Prostate Cancer Screenings

Prostate cancer screening plays an important role in cancer detection because it allows the disease to be detected at an early stage, before symptoms appear, making the chances for a successful treatment outcome greater. However, there are some limits in screening for prostate cancer. It is important to note that because the two tests most commonly used in screening are not 100 percent accurate, early testing for prostate cancer can be difficult.

To learn more about prostate cancer screening, view our presentation below.

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.

Trigeminal Neuralgia Treatment: CyberKnife vs. Gamma Knife

Trigeminal neuralgia is a painfully debilitating neuropathic disorder. Commonly referred to as TN, the condition is a disorder of the trigeminal, or fifth cranial, nerve that controls sensation in the face. TN patients experience episodes of intense, electroshock-like pain on either side of the face, in the forehead or along the jaw. TN is usually diagnosed based on a patient’s description of symptoms.

Pain can be triggered by something as simple as a light breeze to things like chewing, talking or swallowing. Episodes of pain can arise suddenly. Because it can be emotionally incapacitating for patients and significantly impact their quality of life, TN is commonly known as the “suicide disease.”

Our center treats TN with a procedure called stereotactic radiosurgery, a noninvasive method of treating certain types of tumors and conditions like TN with high-dose radiation beams precisely targeted to a segment of the trigeminal nerve using CyberKnife® technology.

Read below for a treatment comparison of CyberKnife and Gamma Knife®, another technology used to treat TN.

  • Comfort – Gamma Knife uses a metal frame to stabilize the patient’s head during treatment, while TN treatment with CyberKnife is completely noninvasive and doesn’t require a fixed metal head frame. With CyberKnife, patients undergoing treatment simply lie on a treatment table wearing a mesh facemask as the machine rotates around them and automatically adjusts and corrects for any movement.
  • Sedation – Because Gamma Knife uses a metal head frame to secure a patient’s head, local anesthesia is required to eliminate any pain and discomfort during the process. However, treatment with CyberKnife is painless and does not require any anesthesia, allowing patients to resume their normal routines following treatment.

Contact us for more information about how we treat TN patients.

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.

CyberKnife Testimonial: Prostate Cancer Patient

At Columbus CyberKnife, we believe one of the best ways to learn about CyberKnife® treatment is hearing from patients who have been through the treatment process. Prostate cancer patient, Vergil F., was treated at another center with CyberKnife technology.

Unlike conventional surgery for prostate cancer, which can last over three hours, requires general anesthesia and a 3-day hospital stay, CyberKnife can treat prostate cancer patients in five or fewer treatment sessions, without incision or sedation, allowing patients to return to their normal activities following treatment.

View the video below to learn more about Vergil’s experience.

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.

Patient Support: Influential Prostate Cancer Bloggers

Often, the best insights for patients and families seeking support for a prostate cancer diagnosis come from survivors and others who have experienced the disease firsthand. Online blogs have become a valuable resource for patients who wish to connect to others in the cancer community for advice and emotional support.

We have identified a few influential bloggers who have used their blog as a platform to provide inspiration for prostate cancer patients and their families.

  • Gabe Canales – Only 35 when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer, Gabe Canales was in the midst of his diagnosis when he founded the non-profit group Blue Cure Foundation, whose mission is to save lives by providing prostate cancer education for all men, young and old. Now a survivor and a passionate cancer-prevention advocate, he is a blogger at the Huffington Post where he covers the latest in prostate cancer treatment and prevention.
  • Prostate Diaries – As a prostate cancer survivor and private practice urologist, Dr. John McHugh offers medical insight into the disease, details treatment options and shares personal experiences all with a good dose of humor along the way through his blog.
  • Prostate Cancer - Our Journey – When Daniel Sencier was first diagnosed with prostate cancer in June 2010, he created his blog as a means of keeping his family and friends informed of his process. Four years on, the blog has turned into an engaging diary of Daniel’s life beyond 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.

American Cancer Society: 2014 Cancer Statistics

Prostate cancer accounts for about 1 in 6 newly diagnosed cancers each year among men in the United States. In 2014, an estimated 233,000 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed in the U.S. The American Cancer Society estimates that more than 8,690 Ohio men will face a prostate cancer diagnosis this year.

Each year the American Cancer Society releases updated facts and figures highlighting trends and forecasts in the cancer industry. Our presentation below contains the American Cancer Society’s 2014 cancer statistics highlighting predictions of cancer incidence.

Prostate cancer is one of Columbus CyberKnife’s most frequently treated diseases. Contact us to discuss CyberKnife® as a treatment option if you or a loved one has been diagnosed with prostate 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.

Understanding the Stages of Cancer

9391512561_518c3f1b6d_oDetermining the stage of cancer is a very important step after someone is diagnosed with cancer. Staging is used to describe the extent or severity of a person’s cancer, which helps doctors determine a prognosis and the best course of treatment.

Common Staging Procedures and Types:

The most common staging is TNM, which designates three aspects of cancer. “T” refers to the size or extent of the tumor; “N” refers to whether cancer cells have spread to nearby lymph nodes and “M” refers to whether the cancer has metastasized.

In addition, numbers are often used to indicate the degree of each aspect, depending on specific cancer types. Most tumors can be described as stage 0, stage I, stage II, stage III or stage IV. Physical exams, imaging procedures, laboratory tests, pathology reports and surgery can all provide information to help determine the stage.

While other testing may be needed, clinical staging determines how much cancer may exist based on a physical exam, imaging and tumor biopsies. The clinical stage is key when deciding the best treatment for an individual diagnosis. It’s also a baseline for comparison when looking at the typical response to treatment for a given type of cancer.

Pathological or surgical staging relies on what is learned during surgery, either to remove the cancer and nearby lymph nodes or to determine how much cancer is in the body and take tissue samples. The pathological stage gives the health care team more precise information, which is used to predict treatment response and outcomes.

If you are looking for additional information about cancer staging, please speak with your doctor, or visit the cancer staging information page provided by the American Cancer Society.

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.

Columbus CyberKnife Treats 1,000 Patients and Recognizes Four Years of Service

CCKWe recently reached an important milestone with the treatment of our 1,000th patient. Opened in June 2010 as a service of Mount Carmel St. Ann’s Hospital, our center marks four years of operation as the area’s only CyberKnife® treatment provider and one of only four in Ohio.

“This is a testament to our team’s specialized expertise in stereotactic radiosurgery and the use of advanced technologies like CyberKnife,” says Dr. Douglas Widman, Columbus CyberKnife medical director. “In addition to treating more than 1,000 patients, there have been recent industry updates in treatment guidelines specifically for prostate cancer patients that we hope will extend additional options like CyberKnife to patients facing a diagnosis and treatment decision.”

Prostate, lung and brain tumors are the most commonly treated diseases at our center. The number of prostate cancer patients we see is expected to increase after two recent announcements supporting stereotactic body radiation therapy as a treatment option for prostate cancer.

Earlier this year, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network® released its 2014 Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology® which now include SBRT as a treatment option for prostate cancer. Read more about these updates here.

Additionally, the American College of Radiology recently updated its Appropriateness Criteria for early stage prostate cancer indicating that SBRT may help patients diagnosed with the disease.

“When seeking treatment for prostate cancer, men should educate themselves on the treatment options available for their diagnosis. For those who are candidates, SBRT is a nonsurgical alternative with few to no side effects. Some men, particularly those who work or travel regularly, are drawn to these benefits of CyberKnife SBRT,” Dr. Widman says.

CyberKnife technology, in use for more than 20 years in the cancer industry, treats tumors throughout the body with stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) and stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT).

Contact our center to learn if you or a loved one could be a candidate for CyberKnife treatment.

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.