July is National Bone Cancer Awareness Month.
Shannon D. Cox, M.D., board-certified radiation oncologist at Austin CyberKnife, spoke with Studio 512 Co-Host Rosie Newberry about bone cancer — metastatic cancer that has spread to the bones — and how these diseases are treated by the CyberKnife® Robotic Radiosurgery System.
What is bone cancer?
“Primary bone cancer, or bone sarcoma, is when unusual cells grow out of control in your bone, forming a cancerous tumor,” Dr. Cox said.
You do not often hear about bone cancer. Why is that? Is it a rare disease?
“Yes, bone cancer is rare. Most bone tumors are benign, which means they are not cancerous and do not spread to other areas of your body, but they may still weaken your bones and lead to broken bones or other problems,” Dr. Cox said.
“Most of the time when someone with cancer is told they have cancer in the bones, the physician is talking about cancer that has spread to the bones from somewhere else and is called metastatic cancer or secondary bone cancer.”
Which cancers spread to the bone?
Dr. Cox said cancers that commonly spread to bone include:
- Breast cancer
- Prostate cancer
- Lung cancer
At Austin CyberKnife, metastatic cancer is treated with the CyberKnife® Robotic Radiosurgery System. What is CyberKnife?
“The CyberKnife System painlessly delivers precise, high-dose beams of radiation to metastatic tumors with extreme accuracy, without requiring incisions, hospitalization, or a long recovery time,” Dr. Cox said.
“CyberKnife allows physicians to zero in on the target tumor and irradiate it without harming the healthy surrounding tissue. As a result, the CyberKnife treatment is more comfortable for patients, radiation is delivered more accurately, and treatments can be completed in one to five sessions.”
What are the benefits of using cyberknife for metastatic cancer treatment?
Dr. Cox said:
- Outpatient procedure, no anesthesia or hospitalization required
- Noninvasive, no incisions needed
- Typically pain-free treatment
- Reaches tumors from virtually unlimited directions with robotic mobility
- Targets individual tumors with pinpoint accuracy
- Enables clinicians to maximize and conform the dose to the tumor target
- Minimal radiation exposure to healthy tissue surrounding the tumor
- Little to no recovery time and almost immediate return to your normal daily activities
- Minimal side effects due to pinpoint precision of high-dose radiation delivery
Is CyberKnife a good treatment option for re-irradiation?
“Yes, for patients previously treated with radiation or currently in treatment for cancer recurrence, CyberKnife can be a powerful treatment option for a wide range of cancer patients and offers many particular treatment advantages,” Dr. Cox said. “Compared with re-irradiation using conventional radiotherapy techniques, advanced radiation techniques, like CyberKnife, create a far more precise dose distribution, effectively limiting the normal tissue exposure to excessive radiation. This creates a greater possibility for durable local control, long-term disease-free survival, and provides some previously irradiated patients a safe radiation treatment option.”
“Additionally, since CyberKnife treatment may be completed in 1-5 visits, for patients undergoing multi-modality treatments that combine radiation therapy with systematic treatment, unlike conventional radiation therapy, CyberKnife treatment can typically be done without any interruption to the patient chemotherapy cycle or immunotherapy treatments.”
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, how is Austin CyberKnife safely treating patients?
“At AustinCyberKnife, our highest priority is to keep all of our patients and staff protected, while not wavering on our commitment to providing patients with safe, high-quality, and comprehensive treatment services,” Dr. Cox said.
“Our center is following all recommended guidance from public health authorities, including best practices for hygiene and infection control, as well as staying on top of the latest COVID-related guidelines, including those from the CDC.”
“Our center is also offering telehealth services as another option to support our patients virtually. We can provide safe and effective consultations, follow-up appointments, answer any questions or concerns, etc. using our secure, HIPAA-compliant platform. You will still get the pre and post-treatment care you need, from the comfort and safety of your own home.”
Where can a patient go for more information about treating metastatic cancer with CyberKnife technology?
This segment is paid for by Austin CyberKnife and is intended as an advertisement. Opinions expressed by the guest(s) on this program are solely those of the guest(s) and are not endorsed by this television station.