Radiation Therapy Clinic in Los Angeles, CA
At Pasadena CyberKnife, our mission is to provide world-class cancer treatment to patients throughout greater Los Angeles. Our state-of-the-art treatment center can treat virtually every form of cancer, and we offer one of the most advanced treatments on the market today: CyberKnife. Instead of invasive methods like surgery, CyberKnife uses a focused beam of energy to eliminate tumors without the need for an incision, providing a highly convenient option for treatment – including for many cases of pancreatic cancer. If you’re facing pancreatic cancer, you can use this page as a resource to find answers to common questions.
Frequently Asked Questions About Pancreatic Cancer
What is pancreatic cancer?
Pancreatic cancer refers to any kind of cancer affecting the pancreas, a fish-shaped organ located just below the liver. The pancreas serves a number of functions in the body, aiding in digestion and also producing a wide variety of hormones.
Are there different types of pancreatic cancer?
There are many subtypes of pancreatic cancer, but on a broad level, it’s divided into two main classifications: endocrine and exocrine tumors. Exocrine tumors account for 90% of pancreatic cancers, and unfortunately, they’re very dangerous. These tumors usually form in the lining of the ducts in the pancreas. Endocrine tumors are rarer, but also less dangerous. These tumors may form in the cells that produce hormones, causing a variety of strange symptoms.
What are the treatment options for pancreatic cancer?
As with most forms of cancer, there are a number of treatments available and you’ll need to work with your doctor to determine the best course for your specific case. Treatment options for pancreatic cancer may include surgery, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, immunotherapy, or radiation therapy treatments like CyberKnife.
How does CyberKnife treatment work for pancreatic cancer?
Instead of surgery or pharmaceutical drugs, CyberKnife uses a precisely-targeted, high-intensity beam of radiation to kill cancer cells and eliminate tumors. This radiation can pass through the skin, meaning CyberKnife is a noninvasive form of treatment that does not require an incision.
The first step for treatment is placing fiducials: a series of three to five tiny gold seeds, each about the size of a grain of rice, into the pancreatic tumor. These fiducials help the CyberKnife system reliably “see” the tumor, helping with targeting and motion tracking capabilities. Placing the fiducials is an outpatient procedure that patients can complete in one afternoon.
After placing the fiducials, we’ll bring you in for a series of medical imaging tests to get a full understanding of your tumor and condition. During this stage, we’ll create a custom body cradle that allows you to receive the treatment in complete comfort, and we’ll fit you with a special Synchrony vest that helps CyberKnife track your breathing and use it to account for tumor movement during the procedure. After taking a full set of medical imaging scans and tests, and creating a comprehensive treatment plan, we’re ready to begin treatment.
The actual treatment process is relatively simple, consisting of hour long appointments over the course of one to five consecutive days. During these appointments, you’ll receive a portion of your radiation dosage, adding up to a full dose at the end of your treatment. During the procedure, you simply lie comfortably in the body cradle as CyberKnife delivers radiation to your tumor with pinpoint accuracy.
After finishing treatment, we’ll schedule a follow up appointment to evaluate the success of treatment and the status of the tumor. At this point, we’ll decide if we successfully treated the cancer or need to plan further treatments.