Austin CyberKnife’s team of physicians has treated 450 patients with brain tumors since the launch of the CyberKnife® program at University Medical Center Brackenridge. The number of brain tumor patients treated with CyberKnife is expected to increase as the center works to raise awareness of CyberKnife as a treatment option through greater collaboration with local neurosurgical groups.
Austin CyberKnife’s network of collaborative partnerships now includes all neurosurgical groups throughout Austin as part of the center’s ongoing effort to provide multispecialty care to patients affected by brain tumors, as well as broadening awareness for treatment options during Brain Tumor Awareness Month and beyond.
In 2011, Austin CyberKnife expanded the clinical applications of its CyberKnife technology to treat tumors in other areas of the body, such as the lungs and prostate, but brain tumors continue to represent the largest number of treatments, accounting for about 65 percent of all patients.
“Given the large number of brain tumor patients our physician team has treated over the years, we’ve developed specialized expertise in CyberKnife treatment for this disease,” said Austin CyberKnife medical director Dr. Doug Rivera. “Through our networking efforts with neurosurgeons in the area, we hope to further enhance our approach to treating brain tumors by including a diverse group of physicians with backgrounds in neurosurgery and radiation oncology.”
Austin CyberKnife treats brain tumors with an advanced procedure called stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) using CyberKnife. During treatment, high-dose radiation beams are delivered to the tumor with sub-millimeter accuracy.
Patients with primary brain tumors, brain metastases or who require or seek a nonsurgical option can be candidates for CyberKnife treatment. Brain tumors can be treated with surgery or conventional radiation therapy, both of which may pose treatment challenges due to the sensitive tissue around tumors in the head. CyberKnife decreases the risk of harming healthy brain tissue surrounding a tumor by tracking the tumor in real time during treatment and adjusting for patient movement.
CyberKnife typically treats brain tumors in a single outpatient session, but treatment could take up to five sessions depending on the individual diagnosis. In contrast, conventional radiation therapy for brain tumors may require consecutive treatments five days per week for up to six weeks.
In addition to treating brain tumors, Austin CyberKnife treats malignant and benign tumors in the prostate, spine, lung, liver, pancreas, kidney and eye.