Radiation Oncology Center in Los Angeles, CA
A cancer diagnosis can be one of life’s most difficult challenges, and no one should have to face it alone. That’s why at Pasadena CyberKnife, our mission is to provide world-class cancer care to patients throughout the greater Los Angeles area from our state-of-the-art cancer treatment center. Our cancer doctors work closely with our patients to develop treatment plans that work with your lifestyle and help you beat cancer so you can reclaim the healthy, normal life you deserve, and if you or a loved one have recently been diagnosed with head and neck cancer, we can help.
CyberKnife – Head & Neck Overview
Our flagship treatment, the CyberKnife Robotic Radiosurgery System, is a breakthrough cancer treatment system that uses high-dose radiation delivered with pinpoint accuracy to eliminate cancerous tumors, all without harming surrounding tissue. CyberKnife was cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2001 to treat tumors anywhere in the body, including the head and neck area.
CyberKnife Head & Neck Cancer Treatment in Los Angeles
Due to its location in some of the most visible, critical parts of the body, head and neck cancers can be difficult to treat with traditional methods. That’s why our cancer center is proud to offer CyberKnife as a nonsurgical, noninvasive option for treating head and neck cancers. In fact, we are the only center in Los Angeles to offer Full-Body Stereotactic Radiosurgery treatment with the CyberKnife VSI model.
The CyberKnife Robotic Radiosurgery System improves on other radiosurgery techniques by eliminating the need for painful, invasive stereotactic head frames, which are often attached to a patient’s head with screws or bolts. Instead of painful immobility devices, CyberKnife uses a soft mesh mask that is custom-fitted to the patient’s face.
The CyberKnife System can pinpoint a tumor’s exact location in real-time using three-dimensional imaging and motion-tracking technology, allowing it to target cancerous cells with radiation at pinpoint accuracy. Thanks to its advanced technologies, it stands out as one of the best options for head and neck cancer treatment on the market:
- Cyberknife’s unique robotic design can treat cancers and tumors in the head and neck area from virtually any angle, providing a proven, effective method for treating otherwise inoperable patients.
- While standard radiotherapy irradiates both normal and cancerous tissues, CyberKnife delivers an ablative dose to the tumor with sub-millimeter (.3mm) accuracy and minimal exposure of normal tissue.
- Patients experience short, painless treatments with far fewer side effects, limited (if any) downtime, and an immediate return to activities.
- CyberKnife can treat patients who can’t endure head and neck cancer surgery or who have a high risk for postoperative complications.
- Treatment occurs in one to five short sessions, after which patients can immediately return to their regular lives.
CyberKnife® and Head & Neck Tumor
Get more information on how CyberKnife can help head & neck tumors by reading the FAQs and comparison chart below.
CyberKnife Benefits For Head & Neck Tumors
At the Pasadena CyberKnife Center, we’re innovating treatment of head and neck tumors by effectively removing and shrinking localized, solid-mass tumors with Cyberknife Radiosurgery. The CyberKnife Robotic Radiosurgery System improves on other radiosurgery techniques by eliminating the need for stereotactic head frames to be attached to a patient’s head with screws or bolts. As a result, the CyberKnife System enables doctors to achieve a high level of sub-millimeter accuracy in a non-invasive manner and allows patients to be treated on an outpatient basis. The CyberKnife System can pinpoint a tumor’s exact location in real time using three dimensional X-ray images taken during the tumor treatment and ablate the tumor with surgical outcomes, yet without surgery, hence called Radiosurgery.
The CyberKnife System has a strong record of proven clinical effectiveness. It is used either on a stand–alone basis or in combination with other head & neck cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy, surgery or radiation therapy.
Cyberknife’s unique robotic design can treat cancers and tumors in the head and neck area (and the entire body), from virtually any angle, giving a proven, effective method for treating inoperable patients that have unresectable and marginally resectable tumors.
While standard radiotherapy irradiates both normal and cancerous tissues, CyberKnife delivers an ablative dose to the tumor with sub-millimeter (.3mm) accuracy and minimal exposure of normal tissue. As a result, Pasadena CyberKnife Center can treat inoperable patients, shrink tumors for less radical resections, destroy radio-resistant tumors and treat patients previously treated with radiation.
In addition, CyberKnife patients experience short, painless treatments with far fewer side effects, limited (if any) downtime and an immediate return to activities.
Here are some of the benefits of the CyberKnife system and how Cyberknife may serve as a viable and/or less risky alternative to surgery for head and neck tumors:
- CyberKnife treats localized solid mass tumors – CyberKnife is effective in nonsurgical treatment of certain metastatic head and neck cancer or tumors that need to be treated for palliative reasons.
- CyberKnife is non- invasive – CyberKnife can treat patients who can’t endure surgery or who have a high risk for postoperative complications.
- CyberKnife is effective – Far less risk, side effects, recovery period, pain, scarring and hospital stay than surgery.
- CyberKnife Is Precise – CyberKnife’s submillimeter precision means we’re able to destroy or shrink tumors near to or involved with critical structures.
- Cyberknife is painless and convenient – CyberKnife, treatment occurs in one to five short sessions, after which patients can immediately return to their lives.
CyberKnife Treatment Process For Head & Neck Tumors
CyberKnife head & neck cancer treatments involve a team approach, in which several specialists participate. The team may include:
- Radiation Oncologist
- Medical Physicist
- Radiation Therapist
- Clinical Care Nurse Coordinator
Once the team is in place, preparations begin for the CyberKnife treatment. Generally there are three steps involved:
- 1. Set up and imaging
- 2. Treatment planning
- 3. CyberKnife treatment
Unlike other radiosurgery systems – such as the Gamma Knife – the CyberKnife System does not require patients to be fitted with a rigid and invasive head frame. In the set-up stage, the radiation therapist will create a soft mesh mask that is custom-fitted to the patient’s face. This comfortable and non-invasive mask helps the patient keep his or her head and neck immobile during treatment. While wearing the mask, a CT scan will be performed. The CT data will be fused with other image data sets such as MRIs or PET scans. These fused images sets will then will be used by the CyberKnife team to determine the exact size, shape and location of the tumor.
An MRI, PET scan or angiogram also may be necessary to fully visualize the tumor and nearby anatomy. Once the imaging is done, the face mask will be removed and stored until the CyberKnife treatment begins. Then a medical physicist and the patient’s radiation oncologist use the data to custom-design the patient’s treatment plan. The patient does not need to be present for the treatment planning.
During the CyberKnife treatment planning phase, the CT, MRI and/or PET scan data will be downloaded into the CyberKnife System’s treatment planning software. The medical team will determine the size of the area that must be targeted by radiation and the radiation dose. They also will identify critical structures where radiation should be minimized. Using this information, the CyberKnife System calculates the optimal radiation delivery plan to treat the tumor. The treatment plan will take full advantage of the CyberKnife System’s extreme maneuverability, allowing for a safer and more accurate treatment.
After the tumor treatment plan is developed, the patient will return to the CyberKnife Center for treatment. The Radiation Oncologist may choose to deliver the treatment in one session, or stage it over two to five days. All, head & neck cancer treatments are completed within five days. For most patients, the CyberKnife treatment is a completely pain-free experience. Patients dress comfortably in their own clothes and, depending on the treatment center, they may be allowed to bring music to listen to during the treatment. Patients also may want to bring something to read while they wait, and have a friend or family member with them to provide support before and after treatment.
When it is time for treatment, the patient lies on the table while their custom-fitted face mask is secured into place. The CyberKnife System’s computer-controlled robot will move around the patient’s body to the various locations from which it will deliver radiation to the tumor. Nothing will be required of the patient during the treatment, except to relax and lie as still as possible.
Once the CyberKnife treatment is complete, most patients quickly return to their daily routines with little interruption in their normal activities. If the treatment is being delivered in stages, the patient will need to return for additional treatments over the next several days, as recommended by their Radiation Oncologist. Side effects vary from patient to patient. Generally some patients experience minimal side effects from CyberKnife treatments, and these often go away within a week or two. Prior to treatment, the Radiation Oncologist will discuss with the patient all possible side effects they may experience. The Radiation Oncologist also may prescribe medication designed to control any side effects should they occur.
After completing CyberKnife radiosurgery treatment, it is important that the patient schedule and attend follow-up appointments. They also must keep in mind that their tumor will not suddenly disappear. Response to treatment varies from patient to patient. Clinical experience has shown that most patients respond very well to CyberKnife treatments. As follow-up, Radiation Oncologists will monitor the outcome in the months and years following a patient’s treatment, often using either CT scans and/or PET-CT scans.
Watch these helpful videos to learn more about the benefits of CyberKnife for head and neck cancer.
Head & Neck Tumors: CyberKnife Patient Education
Cyberknife Benefits explained by Surgeons
Head & Neck Cancer Treatment Patient Testimonial: Trigeminal Neuralgia
CyberKnife is a convenient, noninvasive option for treating a wide range of tumors in the head and neck. But don’t just take our word for it – see what real patients have to say by watching the video testimonial of a patient who underwent CyberKnife treatment for trigeminal neuralgia.
Ongoing Head & Neck Cancer Screening in Pasadena
CyberKnife allows us to eliminate head & neck tumors without the need for surgery. But even with the most successful treatments, ongoing monitoring of the condition is vital. While clinical experience and data tell us that most patients respond very well to CyberKnife treatments for head & neck cancers, treatment response will vary from patient to patient. Your team of radiation oncologists will schedule follow-up appointments to continually monitor the tumor and outcome of treatment, and it’s critical to continue to attend these appointments.
Schedule a Cancer Treatment Consultation Today
Whether you’ve just been diagnosed with cancer, have already received a treatment plan from another doctor, or simply want to learn more about CyberKnife, you deserve to explore all your options for cancer treatment. CyberKnife can offer a comfortable, noninvasive option for treating cancerous tumors in the head and neck, and even if you’ve already seen a cancer doctor, we can offer a second opinion. Find out how CyberKnife can help you beat cancer and reclaim your life: call us at 626.768.1021 to schedule a consultation today.