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CyberKnife Program Proves There’s No Substitute for Experience

November 15, 2019

Ten years ago, 81-year-old Deane Driscoll was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Today, he remains cancer-free after five CyberKnife® radiosurgery treatments at Overlook Medical Center.

“I couldn’t be better if I wrote the rules,” says Deane, whose experience with Overlook’s CyberKnife Center is highlighted in a YouTube video. “I have a lot of buddies going through this, and I tell them, ‘Go to Overlook.’”

Deane is one of many patients who is thankful he chose Overlook for CyberKnife treatment.

“The truth is … many hospitals today offer CyberKnife radiosurgery for treatment of malignant and benign tumors of the prostate, brain, spine, lung, pancreas and liver. But few have the experience, technology and volume of patients Overlook’s program has,” observes Louis E. Schwartz, MD, chief of radiation oncology and medical director of the CyberKnife Center at Overlook.

In 2004, Overlook opened the first CyberKnife Center in the Tri-State Area (and the 16th in the U.S.). In 2015, it acquired the CyberKnife® M6™ Series, the latest generation CyberKnife technology, which can treat larger tumors faster and with even greater pinpoint precision. Several months ago, the software system was enhanced again to further speed treatment time.

“The CyberKnife system’s continual image guidance software allows us to deliver high doses of radiation with pinpoint accuracy, while automatically correcting for tumor movement,” states radiation oncologist Joana S. Emmolo, MD. “Since radiation beams adjust in real time to the patient’s breathing cycle, there is no damage to the surrounding healthy tissue. We can reach large and small tumors that are deemed inoperable.”

“The ability to spare healthy tissue is essential to preserving quality of life, especially when treating brain tumors,” remarks neurosurgeon Yaron A. Moshel, MD, PhD, FAANS, co-director, Gerald J. Glasser Brain Tumor Center at Overlook Medical Center’s Atlantic Neuroscience Institute.

A CyberKnife treatment session lasts from 30 to 90 minutes for one to five days, depending on the location and type of tumor being treated, versus several weeks for traditional radiation therapy. There are no incisions, no blood, no pain and no complications from anesthesia. Patients experience greater comfort because they can breathe normally during treatment, and there is little or no recovery time. Patients resume daily activities immediately following treatment.

“With 15 years of CyberKnife experience under our belts, we’ve treated more than 2,200 patients – more than half of whom had brain tumors,” remarks Dr. Schwartz. “Our prostate cancer cure rate hovers around 95%. That gives added comfort to patients who are choosing the best facility for CyberKnife treatment.” 

Drs. Emmolo and Schwartz are part of Atlantic Medical Group, a multispecialty network of health care providers.