Frequently asked questions

What is the CyberKnife® System?

The CyberKnife® is a specialised robotic radiotherapy system which will treat cancers and some other non-cancerous conditions.  The system enables beams of high dose radiation to be delivered with extreme accuracy anywhere in the body.  It is a pain-free, non-surgical option for patients.

How long will the treatment last?

Treatment is routinely delivered over one to five sessions; however the treatment delivery time can vary from between 30 to 120 minutes depending on the area being treated.

How does CyberKnife® differ from conventional radiotherapy?

Conventional radiotherapy delivers radiation to both the tumour and surrounding healthy tissue, this is necessary as tumour movement cannot be monitored during treatment delivery.  Because of this, the risk of damage to normal healthy tissue is increased, in addition to the likelihood of side-effects following radiotherapy.

CyberKnife® is a radiosurgery system that is designed to deliver radiation with extreme accuracy by tracking the tumour throughout treatment.  This allows higher doses of radiation to be delivered, reduces the radiation delivered to normal healthy tissue and the side effects experienced by the patient. Treatment is also routinely delivered within 1-5 treatments, as opposed to several weeks with conventional radiotherapy.

Are there any side effects from CyberKnife® treatment?

The side effects experienced will vary depending on the site treated and the dose prescribed.  You will be given an information leaflet detailing the possible side effects specifically for your treatment.  In addition, all side effects will be explained by your clinical oncologist before you give your consent for your treatment.

Typical side effects include skin reactions and tiredness.  Your skin may become red, dry and itchy, this typically occurs once you have completed your treatment and may continue for a few weeks after you have completed you radiotherapy.  You may also feel tired and/or lethargic during and after your treatment. This is completely normal and may last for several weeks, it is important that you rest as you feel necessary.  Throughout your treatment you will be reviewed by our CyberKnife® radiographers.

Can I get private treatment?

Mount Vernon Cancer Centre is also treating private patients. You will need to check with your insurance company to see if they would cover the cost of this treatment. Alternatively, if you would like to pay privately for your treatment, please contact our private patients and overseas visitors Service co-ordinator (020 3826 2464 or

How do I find out if this would be a suitable treatment for me?

If you think CyberKnife® may be a treatment option for you, please contact your oncologist, they will be able to advise you on your treatment options.  A referral from your specialist will be required in order to determine if CyberKnife radiotherapy can be offered.

How do I get referred for CyberKnife® treatment?

Your consultant oncologist should refer you to a consultant clinical oncologist on the CyberKnife® team (please refer to consultant details).

How do I refer one of my patients for CyberKnife® treatment?

Your consultant oncologist should refer you to a consultant clinical oncologist on the CyberKnife® team (please refer to consultant details on the website and contact the consultant’s secretary).

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