CyberKnife. It’s a term that might conjure images of sci-fi and superheroic battles. Is it just another term for a lightsaber?
That’s not too far off from the reality: the CyberKnife is actually a revolutionary, non-invasive, highly-accurate cancer treatment that relies on robotic precision and image guidance! It’s backed by academia over 30 years of clinical research that shows that it leaves more than 95% percent of patients cancer-free five years after their treatment!
CyberKnife is an example of an intersection of healthcare technology and branding, which has created awareness beyond health providers. Internet traffic related to CyberKnife peaked in 2009, but it has never fallen off even as other groundbreaking cancer treatment technologies have emerged. Searches for CyberKnife still steadily generate 30% of that 2009 peak every month over 15 years later.
At Percepture, we’ve got a keen interest in the intersection between healthcare technology and branding. We’re a Healthcare Marketing Agency working with clients including medical technology companies and hospital systems to make sure their life-saving services connect with the right audiences.
What is CyberKnife?
Developed beginning in 1989 at the Stanford Radiosurgery Program, CyberKnife received FDA approval for clinical investigation in 1994 and approval for use in treatment in 2001. It is manufactured by Accuray, a publicly-traded company founded by John R. Adler, a Stanford neurosurgeon.
Here’s how Accuray explains CyberKnife, which is also known as “Stereotactic body radiation therapy” (SBRT):
The CyberKnife System is a non-invasive treatment for cancerous and non-cancerous tumors and other conditions where radiation therapy is indicated. It is used to treat conditions throughout the body, including the prostate, lung, brain, spine, head and neck, liver, pancreas and kidney, and can be an alternative to surgery or for patients who have inoperable or surgically complex tumors.CyberKnife System – How It Works
CyberKnife literally broadens the reach of radiation therapy. That’s not only by reaching inaccessible tumors or serving medically-vulnerable patients, but also because of the time it takes. Treatments last for 30 to 90 minutes and are often conducted in just 1 to 5 sessions.
During a treatment, a computer-controlled robotic arm positions itself around the body to deliver radiation via a linear accelerator. It monitors body movements including breathing via an image guidance system that allows it to make fine real-time adjustments to its treatment delivery.
Because CyberKnife is so finely targeted, it damages less tissue than traditional radiation treatments – which can mean less of the well-known side effects of radiation therapy, like hair loss.
And, CyberKnife has applications beyond cancer treatment. Studies have shown the efficacy of CyberKnife for trigeminal neuralgia – sharp, sudden facial pain caused by pressure on the trigeminal nerve. One study found that 82% of patients with trigeminal neuralgia continued to experience pain relief 24 months after their CyberKnife treatment.
CyberKnife Results Treating Cancer
One of the best ways to understand the efficacy of a cancer treatment is to look at its effectiveness in treating common cancers and in serving vulnerable patient populations.
CyberKnife is highly effective as a treatment against many kinds of cancers, including common ones like breast cancer. Breast cancer is the most common non-dermatological cancer. CyberKnife has been proven to be highly effective against non-metastatic breast cancer, or breast cancer which has not spread beyond the breast – which accounts for more than half of all diagnoses. In some cases, using CyberKnife for breast cancer can help prevent the need for mastectomy.
CyberKnife is also an important non-invasive therapy for at-risk populations, like the elderly. Several studies of CyberKnife lung cancer success rate have shown the 1-year survival rate at higher than 95%.
And, a recent study published in Urology Times found that CyberKnife for prostate cancer is slightly more effective in creating disease-free outcomes than traditional radiation therapy.
CyberKnife – The Intersection of Technology and Branding
Every time cancer affects a family member, friend, or colleague it’s a tragedy – and every survival story is worth celebrating.
When it comes to the fight against cancer, there’s no single magic bullet. But any technology that helps us tell more of those survival stories is a welcome weapon in the fight. CyberKnife is an important and enduring breakthrough treatment with an easy-to-remember, plain language name that helps patients understand and discuss the technology with their health care providers.
As a Digital Marketing & PR Agency that focuses on healthcare, our work often fits in the intersection of cutting-edge technology and modern branding in healthcare. We’ve helped technologies connect with providers, and providers connect with patients.
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