Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in men and women. Austin CyberKnife uses their advanced and precise technology to treat lung cancer patients, giving them hope and quality of life. Dr. Shannon Cox is a radiation oncologist with Austin CyberKnife, and he joined us in the studio with more. Lung cancer accounts for about 27% of all cancer deaths and is by far the leading cause of cancer death among both men and women. Each year, more people die of lung cancer than of colon, breast, and prostate cancers combined. According to the American Cancer Society, over 14k new cases of lung cancer will be diagnosed in Texas in 2017.

Patients diagnosed with lung cancer are treated with the CyberKnife® Robotic Radiosurgery System at Austin CyberKnife. CyberKnife is a painless, noninvasive alternative to surgery for the treatment of both cancerous and non-cancerous tumors anywhere in the body. The treatment delivers beams of high dose radiation to tumors with extreme precision and features a device that controls the width of the radiation beams the machine delivers during treatment, allowing our clinical experts to vary the beam size and treat a larger variety of tumors throughout the body.

Before treatment, a radiation oncologist will determine whether the patient’s tumor may need implanted fiducial markers, tiny markers that inserted into the tumor to guide the CyberKnife system track the tumor during treatment. The patient will also be fitted with a custom body support pad, which will help him/her remain relaxed and still during treatment. To monitor breathing, the CyberKnife team will provide the patient with a comfortable LED-enhanced vest or shirt to wear during treatment. During treatment, the patient will lie still, relax, and breathe normally as the CyberKnife’s computer-controlled robotic arm moves around his/her body, delivering radiation directly to the tumor or lesion.

Benefits of using CyberKnife for lung cancer treatment include:

  • It’s noninvasive, meaning no incisions
  • There is no anesthesia or hospitalization required
  • It’s painless
  • It’s completed in five or fewer outpatient treatment sessions
  • There is little to no recovery time, allowing for an immediate return to daily activities
  • There are minimal, if any, side effects
  • Due to pinpoint precision of high-dose radiation delivery, there is minimal radiation exposure to healthy tissue surrounding a tumor

Metastatic cancer is cancer that has spread from the place where it first started to another place in the body. If the cells travel through the lymph system, they may end up in nearby lymph nodes or they may spread to other organs. More often, cancer cells that break off from the main tumor travel through the bloodstream. Once in the blood, they can go to any part of the body. The most common areas cancer cells spread to are the brain, lungs, liver and bones. When cancer spreads to another area, it has the same name and the same type as the original cancer. For example, lung cancer that spreads to the brain and forms a metastatic tumor is metastatic lung cancer, not brain cancer. There are many cancers that commonly spread to the lungs. This is because the heart pumps blood from the rest of the body through the lungs’ blood vessels before sending it elsewhere. The CyberKnife System can treat patients that have previously had surgery, gone through radiation therapy, or are currently undergoing radiation therapy. When dealing with metastatic cancer, it is important for the patient to provide their physician with a complete medical history, so the physician can prescribe the appropriate treatment course.

Austin CyberKnife is located on I-35 near the Dell Seton Medical Center at the University of Texas. Call 512-324-8060 or go to for more details.

Sponsored by Austin CyberKnife. Opinions expressed by guests on this program are solely those of the guest(s) and are not endorsed by this television station