The Cyberknife System is a Radiation Therapy device made by Accuray Incorporated. The device delivers radio waves to treat malignant tumours, benign tumours and many other medical issues. Radiofrequency (RF) energy is used in the Cyberknife System to kill cancer cells.
As with any medical procedure, a cyberknife system must be employed. When the doctor is removing the tumour, it is placed under an x-ray. This radiation will damage the tissue of the tumour as the machine removes it. While removing the tumour, the device sends radiofrequency waves that heat the surrounding tissue. This heat damages the DNA of the cancer cells, rendering them unable to reproduce. As the tumour is destroyed, it is possible to detect cancerous tissue with the naked eye.
After the tumour is destroyed, doctors will administer high doses of chemotherapy, followed by radiation therapy. The cyberknife can help doctors administer these treatments to the remaining tumours. Since the system provides complete scans at high doses of radiation, it can also detect additional cancers or growths in the body. These additional growths can be dangerous if they spread or get into the heart or lungs.
The Cyberknife system operates by sending out short bursts of microwave radiation over short distances. Radiofrequency energy is used to kill the tumour and allow the short bursts of heat from the machine to destroy any remaining healthy tissue. Doctors place the cyberknife over a particular area on the body and send the low-level microwaves into the affected area. This kills the cancerous cells, relieving the patient of pain and allowing him or her to lie comfortably. The robot arm, capable of manipulating large groups of healthy tissue, can work independently.
There are some limitations to the Cyberknife treatment. Because the device can only find cancer cells, it cannot always find other types of tumours or growths. This type of treatment can often lead to more side effects than traditional therapies because it is not entirely convincing. Also, this type of treatment is costly because it must use very high-powered microwaves. Other options include eliminating the tumours with surgery, removing them with a surgical procedure or shrinking them with radiofrequency beams.
The drawbacks of using a cyberknife system for surgery involve what can happen after the initial high-dose radiation treatment. It has been shown that more tumours often multiply than the healthy tissue surrounding them. This leads to a significant loss of overall tissue health. Also, without correcting the underlying issue or obliterating the tumour, many side effects can occur, such as muscle weakness and fatigue, skin discolouration and an increased risk of developing infections.
Because of these side effects, many cancer treatments these days use very intense doses of radiation in conjunction with chemotherapy and surgery. For a patient, it is common to receive multiple treatments over many weeks or months. As you can imagine, this can be very expensive, and several people have had to experience long-term side effects. Even worse, many people find that they need several additional treatments. This adds up to the significant financial strain and can put several people in financial hardship.
For these reasons, many cancer treatments have now included a robotic version of the cyberknife. With advances in technology, doctors can now use a wireless device to deliver high-frequency radiation to target tumours without exposing healthy tissue. This allows physicians to virtually eliminate any tumours safely without having to worry about adverse side effects. You can imagine the difference in outcomes between using the cyberknife treatment for cancer and traditional radiotherapy.