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CyberKnife for Sarcoma

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.


Do you want to learn more about the CyberKnife treatment?

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)–rK0

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 Treatment Using the CyberKnife System

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.

Treatment Options

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


Happy Belated Father’s Day!!

One of the reasons for the creation of this blog is to provide our patients and their loved ones  with information on different health topics and news.  For this reason, we would like to introduce you to the National Men’s Health Week.

In May 1994, President Clinton proclaimed June 12 through 19, 1994 as “National Men’s Health Week”.  The purpose of National Men’s Health Week is to increase the awareness of preventable health problems, with an emphasis on early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys.  Ever since then, the National Men’s Health Week is celebrated each year the week up to and including Father’s Day.

The Men’s Health Network (MHN), a national non-profit organization with the goal of improving the health and well-being of men, boys and families,  has put together a great source of information called “Blueprint for Men’s Health:  A Guide to a Healthy Lifestyle”.  This online publication focuses on the main health issues that men face today, as well as factors that increase health risks, symptom recognition, and practical prevention strategies.

The guide is available as a free download in both English and Spanish at the following link:

We hope you will find the guide informative and useful.

Again, happy belated father’s day!


Have you heard of CURE Magazine?

Our patients often ask us for resources to help them through the cancer journey.  There are a lot of tools and great resources available online in addition to traditional subscription services.  Today, we would like to introduce you to the CURE Magazine, a quarterly publication, provided free to cancer patients, survivors, and caregivers in the U.S.

CURE Magazine is an award-winning publication from Dallas-based CURE Media Group that was launched in 2002.   Its goal is to empower cancer patients, survivors, and caregivers with latest information on every aspect of cancer – from the technical and scientific to the social and emotional.  By combining science and humanity, CURE helps make complicated cancer information more understandable.

For more information on this publication, please visit their website at