Our Medical Director, Dr. Albert Mak, was invited to speak at the Cancer Support Community in Pasadena (formerly known as the Wellness Community) yesterday. He gave a presentation on the “CyberKnife Radiosurgery Treatment” and a brief overview of “How to Manage Side Effects”.
The attendees learned about the difference between radiation therapy and radiosurgery, different types of radiosurgery treatments available, an introduction of the CyberKnife treatment, and how to manage side effects. Most of the attendees have not heard of the CyberKnife treatment before and after listening to the presentation, they were all very impressed with what the CyberKnife could offer. The presentation went very well and we want to thank everyone for attending. It’s very nice meeting each of you and we wish you all the best of luck and happiness for the future! =)
Dr. Mak speaking at the Cancer Support Community workshop
We would also like to once again thank Jill at the Cancer Support Community Pasadena for giving us the opportunity to speak at their workshop. The Cancer Support Community is a great place for people who are affected by cancer to get psychological and social support. Their mission is to help those affected by cancer enhance their health and well-being through participation in a professional program of emotional support, education and hope. They provide professionally-led programs of support to people with cancer and their loved ones no matter what kind of cancer or where they are on their cancer journey. Participants can choose to participate in a variety of programs designed to help them learn more about cancer and its treatment, as well as connecting with and learning from others as you face cancer together. In addition to educational workshops like the one we just did, they also offer “mind and body” classes ranging from yoga, tai chi to painting and knitting. All the workshops and classes at the Cancer Support Community are provided free of charge! Remember, you don’t have to fight cancer alone, there are resources available in the community that aim to help those affected by cancer. For more information on the Cancer Support Community, please visit their website at www.cscpasadena.org.
Here’s another case study we would like to share:
Amy (name has been changed to protect patient’s privacy) is a 48-year-old female diagnosed with bone sarcoma and underwent below-knee amputation of right leg 3 years ago. Unfortunately, she developed multiple metastases in both lungs a year later. She decided to undergo two aggressive surgeries and more than 10 lesions were removed from each lung. She also received chemotherapy following the surgeries.
Earlier this year, Amy was found to have 2 recurrent lung metastases which are located in areas of the lung that are difficult to resect. Her lung function has greatly decreased in the past 2 years due to the surgeries she underwent. As a result, she was skeptical and went in search for other options. One of her friends, who was recently treated at our center, advised her to contact us. After consulting with Dr. Albert Mak and her medical oncologist, it was determined that she was a good candidate for the CyberKnife radiosurgery treatment. Amy was still very nervous about this radiosurgical procedure we recommended because she did not want to undergo further surgery. Although the name CyberKnife suggests scalpels, operating rooms and recovery time, it actually involves no incisions, no anesthesia, no pain and no hospital stay. The CyberKnife is indeed a knifeless outpatient procedure. After careful consideration and weighing her options, Amy decided rather quickly to have the CyberKnife treatment.
Due to the size and location of her lesions, we recommended two separate courses of treatment. During the first course of treatment, we focused on treating the larger tumor. The first course was only 3 days, and each treatment took about 45 minutes. The CyberKnife treatment is a painless and non-invasive procedure which was a big thumbs up for Amy. Unlikely other radiosurgical devices, no immobilization device is needed for CyberKnife. The robot continuously tracked Amy’s lung lesions and adjusted for movement. As a result of this unique tracking capability only available with the CyberKnife system, Amy did not have to hold her breath during treatment and was able to breathe normally and relax comfortably.
Amy tolerated the short course of 3-day treatment very well. She also underwent chemotherapy during the CyberKnife treatment. It has been a month since her first treatment, and we are happy to report that the follow-up CT scan shows that the tumor was reduced by half. She feels very optimistic and hopeful for the future, and will start her second course of treatment next week.
If you would like more information on CyberKnife treatment for lung cancer and pulmonary metastases, please do not hesitate to contact our center at 626-768-1021.
Today, we would like to share with you a very unique case study – Sarcoma. Sarcoma is a cancer that develops from soft tissue or bone, whereas carcinoma – the most common type of cancer – develops from the cells that cover the inner or outer surfaces of the body. Sarcomas are quite rare as there are only approximately 15,000 new cases per year in the U.S.
This case study features a 68-year-old man with a history of nasopharyngeal cancer named Mr. Wu. He had been cancer-free since he received radiation therapy in Taiwan in 1991. In early 2010, he was found to have a recurrent mass in the nasal cavity, and the biopsy results confirmed a diagnosis of Sarcoma. This newly diagnosed sarcoma is different from his original nasopharyngeal carcinoma. It is probably a new tumor caused by his previous radiation treatment (we call it a “radiation-induced sarcoma”). Radiation-induced sarcoma is rare and it usually takes 15-20 years for the secondary tumor to develop.
Mr. Wu’s new sarcoma had grown since last year and was causing profuse nose bleeding and hearing loss in both ears. He decided to seek medical care from the world-renowned University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, where our Medical Director, Dr. Albert Mak, completed his residency training. Mr. Wu had an MRI upon arrival at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. The results showed a large tumor in the nasopharynx and nasal cavity measuring about 3 inches. In addition, the tumor was reaching the bone of the skull. Based on the results, the physician recommended chemotherapy which Mr. Wu refused due to personal reasons.
Fortunately, Mr. Wu’s daughter, who had learned of our center, suggested he contact our center for second opinion. While still in Houston, Mr. Wu emailed us his clinical notes and MRI reports. After reviewing his records, Dr. Mak believed that the CyberKnife treatment could help him. Mr. Wu flew to Los Angeles the next day to see Dr. Mak because the CyberKnife treatment is not currently available at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. Further examination and consultation at our center confirmed that Mr. Wu was indeed a perfect candidate for CyberKnife.
Treatment and Result:
We treated Mr. Wu with CyberKnife for 5 days from 01/26/11 to 02/04/11. He tolerated the treatment very well. When he was seen two weeks later, he reported that his nose bleeding had stopped and he could breathe much better. He had another MRI on 03/18/11, and the results revealed a complete disappearance of the tumor. PET/CT done 3 months after treatment continued to show no evidence of disease.
Sarcoma has been known to be resistant to conventional radiation. On the other hand, CyberKnife is effective in treating sarcoma because it can deliver a very high dose of radiation at the target without causing complication or side effects. Furthermore, the treatment is very precise and painless. The entire course of treatment only takes 5 days and is done on an outpatient basis. Patients can return to their normal activity right after treatment as there is no recovery time required.
If you have questions regarding CyberKnife for sarcoma, please feel free to contact our center.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cleared the CyberKnife system for the treatment of tumors in the head, neck and cervicothoracic spine in 1999. In August 2001, the CyberKnife system received clearance for treatment of tumors in any location of the body.
Although the CyberKnife system has been around for quite sometime now, not many people are familiar with this technology. A few months ago, our Medical Director, Dr. Albert Mak, was invited to appear on the Healthline Show to talk about the CyberKnife Radiosurgery System and explain how it works. Please take a look at the following YouTube video clips to learn more about the CyberKnife treatment available at our center.
Healthline – CyberKnife (Part I)
Healthline – CyberKnife (Part II)
Healthline – CyberKnife (Part III)
Healthline – CyberKnife (Part IV)
Healthline – CyberKnife (Part V)
Healthline – CyberKnife (Part VI)
We hope you find the video clips helpful and informative. We would also like to take this opportunity to thank our patient, Jackie, for sharing her story on the show. If you would like more information on the CyberKnife treatment, please don’t hesitate to contact the Pasadena CyberKnife Center at 626-768-1021.
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men. Every year, about 240,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer. Fortunately, prostate cancer is slow-growing in most cases. Nevertheless, without treatment, a number of patients will develop progressive disease and eventual distant tumor spread. PSA screening has been an effective means to detect early prostate cancer; early detection of disease will likely yield higher cure rate. The American Cancer Society advocates annual PSA screening and digital rectal examination for men over 50 years of age.
There are many treatment options for early-staged prostate cancer such as surgical resection, external beam IMRT radiation, and radioactive seed implant. More recently, the CyberKnife treatment has been used to treat localized prostate cancer. The CyberKnife treatment only consists of 4 to 5 days of radiation treatment vs. 40 days of IMRT radiation treatment. The treatment is performed on an outpatient basis and each treatment takes approximately an hour to complete. There is no pain or sensation associated with the CyberKnife, and no foley catheter is required for the radiation.
CyberKnife allows the physician to deliver a very concentrated dose of radiation at the prostate gland, yet sparing surrounding normal tissue, such as the rectum and bladder. The CyberKnife robot can also track the prostate movement during the treatment to ensure the utmost accuracy on targeting the gland.
A recent study published the 5-year result using CyberKnife radiosurgery for prostate cancer. 93% of the patients had their tumor controlled based on follow-up PSA result. The side effects were minimal and limited to minor rectal complaints or mild urinary complaints which usually resolve with time.
In addition to minimal side effects, patients who undergo the CyberKnife treatment tend to have a better chance of potency preservation than those who have surgery and external radiation. With sub-millimeter accuracy, the CyberKnife allows the physician to treat a very specific targeted area. This capability helps avoid nerve damage during the treatment, ultimately helping retain patients’ erectile function.
In summary, the CyberKnife treatment offers an alternative treatment option for prostate cancer patients. While providing equivalent tumor control rates compared to surgery, the CyberKnife is definitely less invasive. More importantly, patients can continue their normal daily routine while undergoing treatment as there is no recovery period.
Prostate Treatment at the Pasadena CyberKnife Center
Since our inception a year ago, the Pasadena CyberKnife Center had treated more than a dozen patients with prostate cancer. Our patients are followed closely for treatment results and any side effects. We are happy to report that they are all doing very well and their PSA’s have all come down since the CyberKnife treatment.
We are currently accepting patients with low and intermediate risk prostate cancer on a CyberKnife treatment protocol, and will compare the results with other CyberKnife clinics. If you want to find out more about the CyberKnife radiosurgery technology, please call us at 626-768-1021 or visit our website at www.pasadenacyberknife.com.