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  • Innovative tool for cancer treatment now available in South Sound

    When the diagnosis is cancer, people want options.

    At the MultiCare Regional Cancer Center in Tacoma, Northwest residents and their doctors now have more options than ever.

    MultiCare began treating patients this week with one of the newest high-tech tools in the battle against cancer. The CyberKnife is the first and only robotic radiosurgery system designed and FDA approved to treat tumors anywhere in the body, including the brain, spine, lung, liver, pancreas and prostate.

    MultiCare’s CyberKnife is the first in Pierce County, and only the second CyberKnife center in the Puget Sound region.

    CyberKnife: Advanced technology

    “CyberKnife is the latest, most technologically advanced tool we have for highly effective noninvasive treatment of cancer,” said Dr. Rizwan Nurani, a board-certified radiation oncologist who attended medical school and completed his specialty training at the University of Washington in Seattle. “We can use it to treat just about any site on the body with a very accurate and precise dose of radiation.”

    The CyberKnife delivers a thin, focused beam of radiation to attack a tumor. Its precision allows a higher dose of radiation to be delivered without affecting surrounding healthy tissue. That makes treatment faster, less invasive, and with fewer side effects, which preserves a patient’s quality of life.

    Despite the name, there’s no cutting: The outpatient procedure is pain-free and noninvasive – no scalpels, no anesthesia. One treatment takes 30 minutes to an hour.

    “There is nothing that will touch you during your treatment other than the treatment couch on which you’re lying,” Dr. Nurani said. “Most of my patients bring in their favorite CD, listen to their music and relax. Some of my patients actually fall asleep during the treatment because it’s a very relaxing atmosphere.”

    Traditional radiation therapy can involve 30 to 40 treatments over six to eight weeks. The CyberKnife can deliver the same treatment in three to five sessions over three to five days.

    The CyberKnife’s imaging and tracking software allows the device to target and move with a tumor. For example, a tumor in a lung moves up and down as a person breathes. CyberKnife tracks the tumor’s movement as it delivers a dose of radiation with precision of less than a millimeter.

    Because CyberKnife can target a tumor from thousands of angles, the new technology also offers an option for people who have inoperable or surgically complex tumors, or who may be looking for an alternative to surgery

    In March, the MultiCare Regional Cancer Center opened at Tacoma General Hospital. Tacoma’s first comprehensive cancer care center brings together in one building all aspects of care, offering easy access to the latest treatment technology and supportive caregivers in a soothing environment. The cancer center is the only South Sound network affiliate of the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, giving residents convenient access to the latest clinical trials and world-renowned expertise. All of MultiCare’s hospitals and outpatient clinics are connected to an electronic health record system called MultiCare Connect.

    People diagnosed with cancer want options. At MultiCare Regional Cancer Center, CyberKnife is one of their options.

    CyberKnife: Unique treatment

    CyberKnife: Relaxing atmosphere

    Posted on Oct 20, 2010 in