Treatment process

Consent

Following a detailed discussion with your consultant oncologist, we will ask you to sign a consent form before we start CyberKnife® treatment.  It is important that you fully understand what the treatment involves and that you are fully informed before signing the consent form.

Fiducial (marker) Insertion

The placement of tiny gold pellets or rods (known as ‘fiducial markers’, approximately 5mm in size) which act as landmarks within the tumour site may be needed in order to help with the accurate targeting of CyberKnife® treatment.  If fiducial insertion is needed, your consultant oncologist will discuss this with you.  This procedure is routinely done as a day-case, roughly 1-2 weeks prior to the planning CT scan.

Immobilisation devices

You will need to have a custom made immobilisation device, this will assist in ensuring your position is reproducible and comfortable for the duration of your treatment. This process is both quick and simple and will be carried out immediately prior to your planning CT scan.

Scanning

A week or so prior to your radiotherapy treatment you will be required to have a CT scan for treatment planning purposes.  Additional MRI and/or PET CT scans may also be needed.

Planning

Following your CT scan, the consultant oncologist and physicists will begin planning your treatment.  A plan will be produced specifically for your needs ensuring that the prescribed radiation dose is accurately delivered to the tumour site while minimising the dose to the normal surrounding tissues.

Treatment delivery

Before starting your treatment, a member of CyberKnife® team will explain the treatment process to you and you will have a chance to ask any further questions you may have.
During your treatment you will lie on the treatment couch, in the same position you were in for your planning scan. Once you are in the correct position, the radiographers will ensure you are comfortable before leaving the room to deliver your treatment.

The treatment may last between 30 and 120 minutes, depending on the area being treated. During this time you will find it easier if you are able to relax and you are welcome to bring a CD which can be played in the treatment room. Throughout your treatment you will be alone in the room, however the radiographers will be able to see you at all times through closed circuit television.

The radiotherapy is completely painless and you will be asked to breathe normally throughout your treatment. The radiographers will explain in advance how to alert them should you require any assistance. The machine can be switched off or interrupted at any time during your treatment if required.

Follow-up

When your treatment is finished you will be given a follow-up appointment to see your consultant clinical oncologist, this appointment is normally a few weeks after finishing your treatment.

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