St. Louis CyberKnife Completes First Quarter of Operations, Offers Lung Cancer Patients Alternative Treatment Option

Since opening in the fall of 2012, St. Louis CyberKnife has offered an advanced cancer treatment option to help patients facing a disease responsible for more deaths annually than breast, colon and pancreatic cancers combined”Ólung cancer.

In its first quarter of operations, lung cancer accounted for 26 percent of the center’s cases, with about half of those patients travelling from communities outside the service area of hospital partner SSM Cancer Care to receive treatment.

According to the American Cancer Society, more than 5,000 Missourians will face a lung cancer diagnosis this year. Fortunately, advancements in cancer treatment have led to not only increased survival rates, but also expanded treatment options for patients. St. Louis CyberKnife, based in the St. Louis suburb ofÊFenton, offers an alternative to treatments like surgery or traditional radiation therapy.

Though removing all or part of a patient’s affected lung through surgery is the most common treatment for lung cancer, some patients are unable or unwilling to undergo surgery. Patients in poor general health or with a concern for potential side effects that could impact quality of life typically turn to radiation therapy.

St. Louis CyberKnife treats lung tumors with an advanced procedure called stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) using CyberKnife® technology. During treatment, precisely targeted, high-dose radiation beams are delivered to the tumor from a variety of angles without any incisions or sedation.

“Clinical data has shown CyberKnife can offer effective treatment of lung tumors while carrying a low risk of side effects,” said St. Louis CyberKnife radiation oncologist Dr. David Morris. “This is particularly important for patients who require a nonsurgical treatment alternative due to an inoperable tumor or pre-existing condition.”

For the treatment of lung tumors, CyberKnife has the unique ability to track the tumor during treatment, allowing the machine to adjust for normal patient movements like breathing. This results in minimal radiation exposure to healthy tissue, and patients experience few to no side effects due to the accuracy of treatment. Additionally, CyberKnife treatment for lung tumors is completed in five or fewer sessions compared to the 40 treatments typically required with conventional radiation therapy.