Home Diagnosis Guide Cancer treatment comparisons- Proton therapy V/s Cyberknife therapy

Cancer treatment comparisons- Proton therapy V/s Cyberknife therapy

by Dr Prem Community Writer

Patients who are likely to seek an advanced therapeutic treatment for prostate cancer should go for a comparative study of Proton Therapy vs Cyberknife therapy. Today there are various types of cancer treatments in the market; each of these therapies can be distinguished from each other depending on the types of radiating waves or particles used in providing the treatment such as protons, electrons or photons. Out of these three, electrons and photons are used most of the often.

These three types of radiations give out almost similar biological response on tissues affected by tumour. This means all of them eradicate tumours with a same potential, but still have certain pros and cons.  The Cyberknife and Proton therapy are very precise and do not have too many side effects and are among the latest therapies for cancer treatment.

Cyberknife therapy

Cyberknife therapyCyberknife therapy use stereotactic radiation therapy on body for treating cancerous as well as non- cancerous tumours including kidney, pancreas, liver, spine, brain, lungs and prostate. While treating cancer with Cyberknife therapy, high amount of radiations are passed with a precision of half a millimetre to the prostate in order to minimize the damage caused to adjacent health cells.

Cyberknife therapy delivers out radiations from various angles at a single point. No cutting is involved in such treatment; rather it is the first treatment in the world that treats tumours from all body parts non- invasively. It is a treatment free of pain and is a non- surgical alternative to those who are looking for alternative options than surgeries.

How does Cyberknife treatment help?

Cyberknife is used to treat those who are affected with deadly tumours such as:

  1. Non- cancerous tumours
  2. Brain cancer
  3. Prostate cancer
  4. Liver cancer
  5. Spine with cancerous tumour
  6.  Lung cancer
  7. Neck and head cancer
  8. Breast cancer

Side effects

bowel ulcerationThe side effects of Cyberknife therapy are same as what people experience after all radiotherapies. Though it is convenient to undergo this treatment, yet the chances of bowel ulceration and bleeding is more than what standard radiotherapies posses. Treating cancer with Cyberknife therapy has some common side effects including specific damage to nearby organs, changes in normal body functions like urination or salivary function, skin rashes or irritation, nausea and fatigue.

Proton therapy

Proton therapy uses particle therapy to minimize the damage caused to nearby healthy tissues. Under this treatment, doctors find out a precise point inside the body of the patient and release out protons with maximum energy over the exposed area. Proton therapy for cancer patients is becoming common from the last few decades and is improving day by day.

Advantages of Proton therapy

Proton therapyThe basic advantage of proton therapy for cancer patients is that the energy released is precisely controlled. As proton enters into the body, small amount of energy is released and gradually slows down. As the path of the proton comes to an end, a greater amount of energy is released precisely in the tumour without getting back any energy radiations from the tumour.

Disadvantages of Proton therapy

The main disadvantage of proton therapy is that it is available in smaller quantities, which may result in delay of cancer treatment. In addition, the cost of this therapy is high, due to which many insurance companies do not approve the payment of this treatment. Proton treatment is used in some specific treatments like cancer in spinal cord, brain or eyes.

 How does proton therapy help?

Prostate Proton therapy is used to correct cancers affecting:

  1. Non- cancerous tumours in brain
  2. Soft tissues in pelvis and spine, called sarcoma
  3. Prostate glands, liver or lungs
  4. Neck and head
  5. Eyes
  6. Central nervous system

Side effects:

Proton therapy is not associated with any serious side effects. However some of the common side effects still exist such as:

  1. Mucous membranes gets inflamed
  2. Depression and anxiety
  3. Loss of appetite and taste
  4. Skin redness or erythema
  5. Hair loss or alopecia
  6. Vomiting, nausea and headaches
  7. fatigue

Proton and Cyberknife therapy are the two types of treatment among many treatments for cancer. Each of the therapy is used in different situation depending on the stage, size and location of the tumour. Your physician will suggest the latest therapies for cancer treatment depending on your needs.

Proton therapy vs Cyberknife therapy

A summarised comparison of Proton therapy vs Cyberknife therapy is presented below:

Daily dosage:

Under Cyberknife therapy, the patient is given 5 to 20 Gy per fraction, whereas under proton therapy, this amount is just 1.8- 2.0 Gy per fraction.

Number of days the treatment lasts:

While comparing Proton therapy vs Cyberknife therapy, it is important to note that Cyberknife therapy lasts just for 3-5 days. On the other hand proton therapy goes for 6- 7 weeks

 Tissue margin or accuracy:

The accuracy margin in Cyberknife treatment is 1- 5 millimetres. Tissue margin in case of proton therapy is 20- 30 millimetres.

Number of radiated beams:

Not less than 100 and more than 200 beams are radiated to the patient in one time treatment of Cyberknife therapy. The quantum of radiation is more in proton therapy ranging from 20 to 30 millimeters.

Correction for movement and breathing:

There is no continuous correction related to movement and breathing in proton therapy whereas Cyberknife therapy includes this feature.

Insurance coverage:

Insurance Proton therapy is usually costly and is generally not covered by most of the insurance companies whereas Cyberknife treatment is covered under your medical insurance plans.

Treatment type:

Cyberknife therapy does not involve cuts and is thus a non- invasive treatment. However, proton treatment is minimally invasive.

Long-term success:

Cyberknife therapy has proved out to be successful in long run but no such successful data is available in case of proton therapy.

Exit dosage:

One of the basic contradiction in proton therapy vs Cyberknife therapy is that proton therapy do not have an exit dosage, whereas Cyberknife do have it.

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