CyberKnife: Cutting-Edge Technology

By Shiao Woo, M.D., M.B.B.S., F.A.C.R.

According to the American Cancer Society, each year more than 25,000 Kentuckians face cancer diagnosis. Fortunately, the evolution of treatment options has improved survival rates of various cancers in recent years.


Traditional treatment options can include chemotherapy, surgery, radiation therapy or stereotactic body radiation therapy depending on the location of the tumor. Advancements in cancer treatment have introduced another option for those seeking an alternative to surgery or patients with medically inoperable tumors.


CyberKnife® treats tumors throughout the body, including the brain, lung, liver, kidney, spine, pancreas and prostate. CyberKnife treats patients with a procedure called stereotactic radiosurgery, a noninvasive method of treating tumors with high-dose radiation delivered in five or fewer outpatient procedures. Treatment involves no cutting, no anesthesia, no overnight hospital stay and offers an effective treatment option for patients who are not surgical candidates or prefer an alternative to surgery due to the associated risk of complications.


Louisville CyberKnife at the Brown Cancer Center will offer the first and only CyberKnife technology available in Kentuckiana and the second in the state of Kentucky. The center has installed the CyberKnife 9.6 system, which features a device that controls the width of the machine’s radiation beam, allowing physicians to vary the beam size to treat a larger variety of tumors throughout the body.


The advanced technology has the ability to compensate for normal patient movements, such as breathing, precisely targeting the tumor location during the entire procedure and minimizing radiation exposure to surrounding healthy tissue. With few or no side effects, patients typically return immediately to their normal routines after treatment.


Early detection is an important defense for all cancers. Cancer risk factors well established and taking simple precautions can greatly reduce the likelihood of diagnosis. For example, those who quit smoking can reduce their risk of lung cancer by nearly 50 percent, according to the American Lung Association.


When faced with a cancer diagnosis, choosing among treatment options can mean a big difference in a patient’s quality of life. Patients should not be afraid to talk with their doctor and weigh all options before making a decision.


Shiao Woo, M.D., M.B.B.S., F.A.C.R.,  is the medical director of Louisville CyberKnife, a joint venture between the James Graham Brown Cancer Center and US Radiosurgery. He also serves as professor and chairman of the Department of Radiation Oncology at the University of Louisville School of Medicine. He is a board-certified radiation oncologist specializing in treatment of brain tumors and pediatric radiation oncology. Louisville CyberKnife at the Brown Cancer Center is located at 529 S. Jackson St., Louisville, Ky. 40202. For more information, call (502) 217-8200 or visit



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