The Importance of Getting a Second Opinion

A recent article from CancerConnect.com, a patient-focused cancer website, suggests that if you have been diagnosed with cancer, seeking a second opinion will allow you to learn more about your cancer type and make truly informed decisions about treatment.

The article recommends that all cancer patients should consider seeing at least one additional expert after an initial diagnosis.  Getting a second opinion is an important part of becoming educated about a cancer diagnosis and treatment options and will also give you the opportunity to find a physician you are comfortable with, someone you respect and who you believe is paying attention to your needs.

In the article, the following questions are addressed:

What Is a Second Opinion?

Why Do I Need a Second Opinion?

Is Getting a Second Opinion Considered “Bad Etiquette”?

Who Pays for A Second Opinion?

Where Should I Get a Second Opinion?

Who Should Get a Second Opinion?

In addition to the questions above, the article also covers tips for preparing for your second opinion appointment, including writing questions down ahead of time and bringing someone with you to help listen and understand the information discussed.

It is an extremely informative article and one that Columbus CyberKnife strongly advocates patients read.

If you, or a loved one, have recently been diagnosed with cancer and you would like information on treatment options, or a second opinion, please do not hesitate to contact a member of our team today.

SBRT Offers Prostate Cancer Patients High Cancer Control and Low Toxicity in Fewer Treatments

According to research presented at the recent 58th Annual Meeting of the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO), high dose stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT) for men newly-diagnosed with low- or intermediate-risk prostate cancer results in shorter treatment times, low severe toxicity, and excellent cancer control rates.   

Although prostate tumors generally respond well to radiation therapy (RT), the possibility of radiation exposure to healthy tissue in the genitourinary (GU) and gastrointestinal (GI) systems can be of concern. SBRT is an advanced technique that precisely targets high doses of RT to the tumor in a small number fractions, simultaneously avoiding surrounding tissue and reducing toxicity to non-cancerous cells.  The technique has become the standard of care for many non-surgical lung cancer patients, as it limits exposure to the heart and surrounding lungs.  When treating tumors in the prostate, SBRT avoids the adjacent bladder, sex organs and rectum. 

For the study, which was the first large multi-institutional study of SBRT in prostate cancer with long-term follow-up, a total of 309 men with newly diagnosed prostate cancer were enrolled in the trial at 21 community, regional, and academic hospitals across the U.S.  Eligible patients had either low-risk disease or intermediate-risk disease and all of the men received SBRT.  At five years following SBRT, 97 percent of patients were free from prostate cancer progression and fewer than two percent of all patients experienced serious side effects. 

“Our results illustrate how advanced technology has radically improved our ability to target cancer,” said Robert Meier, M.D., lead author of the study and a radiation oncologist at Swedish Medical Center in Seattle.  “After following patients for more than five years, we found that serious side effects from a brief course of SBRT were uncommon and that cancer control rates were very favorable compared to historical data. Our trial confirms that SBRT may be preferable to other treatment approaches for newly-diagnosed cases of prostate cancer, including more aggressive disease.” 

At Columbus CyberKnife, men diagnosed with prostate cancer are treated with SBRT with the CyberKnife® Robotic Radiosurgery System.  CyberKnife is a painless, nonsurgical prostate cancer treatment technology in which high-dose radiation is delivered to the tumor from a linear accelerator mounted on a highly maneuverable robotic arm.  Hundreds of different angles enable the radiation to be contoured to the shape of the prostate, resulting in treatment aimed directly to the prostate gland, avoiding nearby critical anatomy.  This precision reduces treatment time to just five outpatient visits, compared to the average 40 – 45 visits conventional radiation therapy requires. 

To learn more about how Columbus CyberKnife treats prostate cancer, please click here

Managing Cancer as a Chronic Illness

June is National Cancer Survivor Month.  It is a month dedicated to celebrating and recognizing those who have survived cancer, an inspiration for those recently diagnosed, a gathering of support for families, and an outreach to the community.  

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the leading national public health institute of the United States, people are living longer after a cancer diagnosis.  The CDC reports that there are currently nearly 14 million Americans living with cancer and that about two out of every three people with cancer live at least five years after diagnosis. 

Cancer survivors are living longer after diagnosis because of advances in early detection and treatment, and improvements in medical and other health care services.  Though cancer continues to be the second-leading cause of death in the U.S., it increasingly is becoming a chronic illness that can be treated and lived with.  

Because of the significant advances made in cancer care, now even when a cure is not possible, many cancers can be controlled and managed for long periods of time.  Many physicians consider patients being treated for some types of cancer as living with a chronic condition.  However, these patients require ongoing therapy or medicine to control their condition, much like people with diabetes or high blood pressure. 

Some cancer types, such as ovarian cancer, leukemia, and some lymphomas, can be closely watched and treated, but sometimes they never completely go away, and are considered a chronic or ongoing illness.  Sometimes cancers that have spread or have come back in other parts of the body, like metastatic breast or prostate cancer, also become chronic cancers.  

For people living with cancer, the cancer may be controlled with treatment, meaning it might seem to go away or stay the same.  The cancer may not grow or spread as long as you’re getting treatment. Sometimes when treatment shrinks the cancer, you can take a break until the cancer starts to grow again.  But in either of these cases the cancer is still there, it doesn’t go away and stay away, and it’s not cured. 

Being diagnosed with cancer or battling cancer for a second time can be scary.  Columbus CyberKnife understands and is here to help.  With state-of-the-art cancer treatment technology, and a dedicated team of physicians and staff who are experienced in treating patients with stereotactic radiation therapy, Columbus CyberKnife delivers quality care in a compassionate manner. 

If you, or a loved one, have recently been diagnosed with cancer, please contact Columbus CyberKnife today. 

Shorter Radiation Regimen Gets Same Results as Conventional Treatment

Researchers at the 2016 Genitourinary Cancers Symposium reported that a recent 2016 study found that prostate cancer radiation regimen that delivers less radiation over a shorter period of time still provides equivalent oncologic control for low-risk patients as does conventional radiation schemes. 

For the study, published last month in the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s Genitourinary Cancers Proceedings, a supplement to the Journal of Clinical Oncology, 1,115 men with low-risk prostate cancer were randomly assigned to a conventional schedule (41 treatments over 8 weeks) or to a hypofractionated schedule (28 fractions over 5 weeks).   Baseline characteristics were similar between the two groups, including the patients’ age (median age 65) and pretreatment prostate specific antigen (PSA) scores. 

The primary purpose of the study was to determine if hypofractionated radiation therapy results in five-year disease free survival that is not lower than conventional radiation therapy by more than seven percent.  The study also looked at overall survival rates and patients’ biochemical recurrence, which is a rise in PSA levels following treatment. 

The study concluded that delivering radiation therapy in larger doses over a shorter time period results in similar rates of cure and side effects, compared to a longer treatment schedule for some men with low-risk prostate cancer. 

“The benefit of this demonstration is that we shorten the duration of therapy by more than two weeks,” said Sumanta Pal, MD, Assistant Professor of Medical Oncology at City of Hope.  “And that may relieve many burdens, including economic costs and time costs to the patient. One of the traditional challenges with radiation therapy in prostate cancer is that it is administered over such an extended period of time. It becomes a real challenge for patients who come from long distances for their radiation treatment and certainly might compromise compliance.” 

If you or a loved one is screened for prostate cancer and the disease is detected, be sure to fully inform yourself of your options, including a second opinion.  Cyberknife is an accepted treatment for prostate cancer and is delivered over a shorter period of time – 5 treatments vs. 28-41 treatments.  Contact Columbus CyberKnife to learn how we treat prostate cancer painlessly and noninvasively with the CyberKnife® Robotic Radiosurgery System, a painless, nonsurgical cancer treatment technology in which high-dose radiation is delivered to the tumor from a linear accelerator mounted on a highly maneuverable robotic arm.  Hundreds of different angles enable the radiation to be contoured to the shape of the prostate, resulting in treatment aimed directly to the prostate gland, avoiding nearby critical anatomy. 

Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy Shows 98 Percent Prostate Cancer Cure

According to researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center, a five-year study shows that stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) offers a higher cure rate for prostate cancer than more traditional approaches. 

The study, the first trial to publish five-year results from SBRT treatment for prostate cancer, found a 98.6 percent cure rate with SBRT, a noninvasive form of radiation treatment that involves high-dose radiation beams entering the body through various angles and intersecting at the desired target.  It is a state-of-the-art technology that allows for a concentrated dose to reach the tumor while limiting the radiation dose to surrounding healthy tissue. 

Raquibul Hannan, M.D., Ph.D., lead author for the study said, “The high cure rate is striking when compared to the reported five-year cure rates from other approaches like surgery or conventional radiation, which range between 80 to 90 percent, while the side effects of this treatment are comparable to other types of treatment.  What we now have is a more potent and effective form of completely noninvasive treatment for prostate cancer, conveniently completed in five treatments.” 

The study’s senior author Robert Timmerman, M.D., added, “The current form of radiation is 44 treatments given over nine weeks.  In contrast, the SBRT therapy we used allows the delivery of highly focused radiation in only five treatments, allowing patients to return to their normal lives more quickly.  SBRT is both more convenient and has increased potency.” 

At Columbus CyberKnife, men diagnosed with prostate cancer are treated with SBRT with the CyberKnife® Robotic Radiosurgery System.  CyberKnife is a painless, nonsurgical prostate cancer treatment technology in which high-dose radiation is delivered to the tumor from a linear accelerator mounted on a highly maneuverable robotic arm.  Hundreds of different angles enable the radiation to be contoured to the shape of the prostate, resulting in treatment aimed directly to the prostate gland, avoiding nearby critical anatomy.  This precision reduces treatment time to just five outpatient visits, compared to the average 40 – 45 visits conventional radiation therapy requires. 

To learn more about how Columbus CyberKnife treats prostate cancer, including a video on prostate cancer treatment, please click here

Prostate Cancer Treated More Aggressively in the City

According to a recent study published in the journal Prostate Cancer and Prostatic Diseases, urban men with localized prostate cancer may be more likely to get surgery or radiation than their rural peers. 

Men had 23 percent higher odds of getting these aggressive treatments when they lived in densely populated U.S. counties than if they resided in rural counties, according to the analysis of cancer registry data for about 138,000 men.  The conservative alternatives, watchful waiting or hormone therapy to shrink tumors without surgery or radiation, were more common in less populated areas, with 22 percent of rural men receiving this type of care compared with 19 percent of their urban counterparts. 

Cancer care requires sophisticated resources, including medical, surgical, and radiation therapy specialists.  These specialists are less likely to be found in rural areas, especially small and isolated small rural areas, as their work can require specialized consultative care, found primarily in urban areas and rural areas with sizeable populations. 

Dr. Clint Cary, a urology researcher at the Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis and lead author of the study said, “Men in urban areas have access to more physicians in addition to more advanced technology on both the surgical and radiation therapy front.  Smaller hospitals in rural areas will likely not be able to fund the expense of robotic surgical equipment, intensely modulated radiation therapy or proton beam radiation centers.” 

At Columbus CyberKnife, men diagnosed with prostate cancer are treated with the latest state-of-the-art cancer technology, the CyberKnife® Robotic Radiosurgery System.  CyberKnife is a painless, nonsurgical prostate cancer treatment in which high-dose radiation is delivered to the tumor from a linear accelerator mounted on a highly maneuverable robotic arm.  Hundreds of different angles enable the radiation to be contoured to the shape of the prostate, resulting in treatment aimed directly to the prostate gland, avoiding nearby critical anatomy.  This precision reduces treatment time to just five outpatient visits, compared to the average 45 visits conventional radiation therapy requires.  

Columbus CyberKnife proudly serves the greater Columbus area and surrounding communities.  We have had patients drive over a 100 miles for our services.  We understand that your time is important and we are here to try to help you keep to your normal day-to-day routine during your treatment.  Since CyberKnife treats prostate cancer in just five visits, you will be done with your cancer treatment in less than two weeks.  

For more information on Columbus CyberKnife, including where we are located and how to make an appointment, please click here