Date: 8/9/2007

Community Healthcare System offers Next-Generation Cancer Treatment

EAST CHICAGO: A $1 million investment in the CyberKnife Center located at St. Catherine Hospital offers new possibilities for the treatment of cancerous and benign (non-cancerous) tumors anywhere in the body without surgery and without pain. The recently installed G4 system upgrade to CyberKnife is considered the next-generation in CyberKnife Stereotactic RadioSurgery (SRS) technology.

CyberKnife is the only radiosurgery system available that uses intelligent robotics to continuously track, detect and correct for tumor and patient movement throughout the treatment. With its unique precision capabilities, the system can treat tumors that previously could not be removed surgically or otherwise be treated effectively with existing therapies.

Stereotactic RadioSurgery is a non-surgical treatment that uses focused beams of radiation on tumors and lesions deep within the body. During the procedure, beams of radiation enter the body from many different angles. By itself, each small beam of radiation does not harm the healthy tissue or organs it passes through, but when the beams intersect at the cancerous target, it generates a radiation dose high enough to destroy the tumor. This upgrade increased the available number of radiation beams by 25% which allows even greater flexibility in conforming the radiation to the contours of the target.

The G4 system upgrade also provided a 50% increase to the rate at which the radiation is delivered. The increase in dose rate will mean shorter treatment times for patients.

“The G4 system upgrade enhances an already extremely capable radiosurgery system,” said Andrej Zajac, M.D. Medical Director of the CyberKnife Center at St. Catherine Hospital.
The higher dose rate and increased number of beam angles will increase the range of tumor locations that can be treated with CyberKnife and this will make CyberKnife treatment an option for a greater number of individuals. The shorter treatment times will also be welcomed by our patients, especially those undergoing the more complex treatments.”
CyberKnife is effective in treating certain cancers of the brain, spine, pancreas, liver and lung, as well as, other malformations and benign tumors. CyberKnife treatment generally lasts one to two hours with patients going home immediately after treatment. No anesthesia is required so you can return to normal activity. The entire treatment process is completed as an outpatient in two to five visits.

In 2005, the first year treating patients, the CyberKnife Center at St. Catherine Hospital quickly became the 4th busiest center in the world and the 2nd busiest center in the country for treatment of tumors outside of the brain. Also during the first year, it was distinguished nationally for its treatment of lung cancer.

The CyberKnife Center is a joint effort between area physicians and the hospitals of the Community Healthcare System, Community Hospital in Munster, St. Catherine Hospital in East Chicago and St. Mary Medical Center in Hobart. For more information on CyberKnife and the radiation oncology services of the Community Healthcare System, please call 1-877-32CYBER.