When Cancer Comes Back: CyberKnife Capabilities for Recurrent Tumors

If you or a loved one is facing a cancer recurrence, it’s normal to feel shock and distress. When a patient’s cancer comes back, it’s important to understand that a recurrence does not mean the first treatment was wrong or didn’t work, and it doesn’t mean you did anything wrong following treatment.

The American Cancer Society states, “Even though treatment may seem to get rid of all of the cancer, there may be just one tiny cancer cell left someplace in the body. This cell might not cause any harm for many years. Suddenly, something can change the immune system and “wake up” the cell. When it becomes active, it can grow and divide to make other cells. Finally, it becomes big enough for your doctor to detect it as a recurrence.”

For patients experiencing a recurrence of their cancer, CyberKnife® is an advanced technology that has particular advantages for treating areas of the body that have been previously treated with surgery or radiation.

For example, a patient with a recurrent brain tumor who previously received whole brain radiation therapy (WBRT) potentially has limited options as large margins of normal brain tissue are exposed to radiation during WBRT. Further treatment may result in cognitive and functional decline. However, CyberKnife stereotactic radiosurgery may be an option even after previous WBRT treatment. CyberKnife has the ability to pinpoint precise locations in the brain and deliver targeted doses of radiation with extreme accuracy. This minimizes exposure to surrounding healthy tissue and may reduce overall side effects of retreatment.

CyberKnife may also be a good option for patients who develop a cancer recurrence in the lung after previously undergoing surgery. To learn more about retreatment with CyberKnife, contact our center. You can also read more about recurrent cancer and CyberKnife in our blog post.

This is not intended as medical advice to replace the expertise and judgment of your health care team. It is intended to help you and your family make informed decisions, together with your doctor.