News & Events

Spotlight On: Pancreatic Cancer

As one of the most rapidly spreading diseases, pancreatic cancer is difficult to diagnose because patients usually don’t display symptoms until the cancer has progressed and spread to other parts of the body.

 Common early symptoms include loss of appetite, mild weight loss and mild discomfort in the upper abdomen or occasionally in the middle-back. Because these symptoms can be attributed to any number of conditions, early signs are often ignored or missed.

 Treatment for pancreatic cancer can be a curative or palliative approach involving surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, stereotactic radiosurgery or a combination. Due to side effects and complications associated with surgery for pancreatic cancer patients, stereotactic radiosurgery can be a safe, noninvasive option.

 Philadelphia CyberKnife treats pancreatic tumors with stereotactic radiosurgery using CyberKnife® technology. During treatment, high doses of radiation are delivered to the tumor with sub-millimeter accuracy. To learn more about how CyberKnife treats tumors, click here.

 The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network works to advance research on prostate cancer and support patients and families. To learn more about their Philadelphia chapter, click here.

 It is never too soon to ask your doctor about pancreatic cancer. Learn more from the American Cancer Society’s website.

This is not intended as medical advice to replace the expertise and judgment of your health care team. It is intended to help you and your family make informed decisions, together with your doctor.

Philadelphia CyberKnife Offers Noninvasive Treatment to Patients with Lung Tumor Regrowth or Metastases

PhiladelphiaCyberKnife_SystemNoninvasive treatment of tumors that regrow in lung cancer patients is now more possible than ever using CyberKnife® technology. Havertown-based Philadelphia CyberKnife together with Drexel University College of Medicine recently completed a study demonstrating the efficacy of this approach for patients experiencing a recurrence or spread of a lung tumor.

In the last decade, treatment for these diagnoses has progressed using chemotherapy, surgery and external beam radiation therapy, but patients often experience decreased lung functionality following these treatments. The Philadelphia CyberKnife team presented their study at the 2013 National Radiosurgery Society meeting as one of the first of its kind to evaluate this method of treatment for recurrence.

The method uses stereotactic body radiation therapy for recurrent lung cancer patients who have been previously treated with conventional radiation therapy, a process called reirradiation. Results from the study demonstrated patients who received SBRT reirradiation experienced good tumor control at that site and fewer long-term side effects over a three-year period compared with other series of reirradiation.

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U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Recommends CT Lung Cancer Screening

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recently released a recommendation in favor of CT lung cancer screening for long-term smokers.

Though still pending finalization, the recommendation applies to current and heavy smokers between 55 and 79 and could be a huge step in diagnosing high-risk patients sooner.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force is an independent, volunteer panel of national experts in prevention and evidence-based medicine. The Task Force works to improve the health of all Americans by making evidence-based recommendations about clinical preventive services such as screenings, counseling services and preventive medications.

Since opening in 2006, Philadelphia CyberKnife physicians have contributed cutting edge research on the applications of stereotactic body radiation therapy and CyberKnife® treatment. Two studies developed by physicians at our center on SBRT treatment for lung cancer were presented earlier this year at the Radiosurgery Society’s annual meeting. Read more about this research here.

To read more about the recommendation, view the draft for public comment.

Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day

PhiladelphiaCyberKnife_MetastaticBreastCancerAwarenessEach October, the breast cancer community gathers to raise awareness and garner support for the fight against breast cancer. The American Cancer Society estimates 232,340 cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in 2013 and one in eight women will develop breast cancer during her lifetime.

During Breast Cancer Awareness Month, October 13 is dedicated to awareness of metastatic breast cancer, a condition where cancer has spread from the breast to another part of the body. Metastases are named for the location where cancer develops, not where it spreads. While metastatic cancers are difficult to monitor, cancer types often spread in similar patterns. Read more about metastases here.

The Metastatic Breast Cancer Network (MBCM) is a hub for educational materials, fundraising and support for metastatic breast cancer. The MBCM hosts an annual conference and events across the nation. To read more about the MBCM, visit their website.

Philadelphia CyberKnife treats certain metastases with stereotactic body radiation therapy using CyberKnife® technology. Our center is proud to provide a treatment option to breast cancer patients whose cancer has spread to other areas such as the brain or lungs. Watch an overview of the CyberKnife treatment process here.

Spotlight On: Lung Cancer Treatment

The American Cancer Society estimates lung cancer will be detected in nearly 220,000 people this year. The disease, ranked as the most common cancer diagnosis worldwide, kills more people annually than breast, colon and pancreatic cancers combined.

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While surgery or external-beam radiation therapy is considered a standard treatment for lung cancer, patients who are in poor general health or suffer from chronic pulmonary disease, like emphysema, may need to consider other options.

Our center offers a noninvasive form of treatment for lung cancer called stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT). During the procedure, precisely targeted radiation beams are delivered directly to a patient’s tumor with sub-millimeter accuracy, minimizing damage to surrounding healthy tissue.

Learn more about CyberKnife® treatment here or request more information.

Spotlight On: Trigeminal Neuralgia

Though primarily used to treat benign and malignant tumors, stereotactic radiosurgery can also treat additional medical conditions, including a rare nerve disorder, trigeminal neuralgia (TN).

Excruciating facial pain triggered by everyday activities such as chewing, talking or swallowing characterizes the debilitating condition. TN can often be mistaken for a dental problem, since the disorder usually causes sharp pain in the jaw. Diagnosis sometimes takes several years, as patients may undergo root canals or tooth extractions in an attempt to relieve their pain.

TN can occur when a blood vessel compresses the fifth cranial nerve, one of the largest nerves in the head. Many times, no cause can be found. As the pain intensifies, patients find themselves unable to predict what may trigger the next episode. Treatment typically involves powerful painkilling drugs or other antidepressant or anticonvulsive medication.

Using CyberKnife® technology, our center performs stereotactic radiosurgery, a noninvasive method of treating certain types of tumors and conditions like TN with high-dose radiation beams delivered in five or fewer procedures. To treat a patient with TN, the CyberKnife delivers very precise radiation beams to a targeted segment of the trigeminal nerve to interrupt pain-causing fibers. The pinpoint accuracy of the procedure spares healthy tissue and allows us to treat difficult-to-reach targets without surgery or sedation.

TN treatment is typically a one-time, outpatient procedure and is completed within an hour. TN does not have a cure, but pain can be reduced or eliminated in 85 to 90 percent of patients who are treated with stereotactic radiosurgery.

Spotlight on: The Stages of Cancer

When someone is diagnosed with cancer, determining the stage of the cancer is an important next step. Staging describes the extent or severity of a person’s cancer, which helps doctors determine the best course of treatment and a prognosis.

PhiladelphiaCyberKnife_CancerStaging

Common Staging Procedures and Types:

  • The most common staging is TNM, which designates three aspects of cancer. “T” refers to the extent or size of the tumor, “N” refers to whether cancer cells have spread to nearby lymph nodes and “M” refers to whether the cancer has metastasized. Numerals are often used to indicate the degree of each aspect, depending on specific cancer types.
  • Most tumors can be described as stage 0, stage I, stage II, stage III or stage IV. Physical exams, imaging procedures, laboratory tests, pathology reports and surgery can all provide information to determine the stage.
  • Clinical staging estimates how much cancer exists based on a physical exam, imaging and tumor biopsies, as well as other testing if needed. The clinical stage is key when deciding the best treatment for an individual diagnosis. It’s also a baseline for comparison when looking at the typical response to treatment for a given type of cancer.
  • Pathological or surgical staging relies on what is learned during surgery, either to remove the cancer and nearby lymph nodes or to determine how much cancer is in the body and take tissue samples. The pathological stage gives the health care team more precise information, used to predict treatment response and outcomes.

The information in this post was pulled from the American Cancer Society. For more information on cancer staging, visit The American Cancer Society or talk to your doctor.

Philadelphia CyberKnife Marks Seven Years On Cutting Edge of Cancer Treatment and Research

Philadelphia CyberKnife StaffThis month, Philadelphia CyberKnife celebrates its seventh year of operations as a service of Delaware County Memorial Hospital, part of the Crozer-Keystone Health System. Our center was the first provider of stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) treatment in the Philadelphia region, and we’ve treated nearly 2,000 patients with the advanced procedure using CyberKnife® technology.  

Through research spearheaded by our center’s team, Philadelphia CyberKnife has earned a global reputation as a leader in the field of stereotactic radiosurgery. More than half of the patients treated at Philadelphia CyberKnife have traveled from areas outside our center’s service area, including patients from the United Kingdom, Australia and across the U.S.

“As the first CyberKnife center in the Philadelphia area, we have had the opportunity to play an instrumental role in developing and demonstrating applications for this technology through our research efforts,” said Dr. John Lamond, Philadelphia CyberKnife associate medical director. “Our priority is to continuously investigate the best strategies in cancer care to better serve our patients and improve treatment outcomes.”

Brain tumors are among the most frequently treated diseases at our center, making up a quarter of total cases. In January, Philadelphia CyberKnife began collaborating with physicians in Crozer-Keystone’s HAN Neurosurgical Practice Associates practice to provide joint consultations for brain tumor patients when planning treatment. The new collaborative effort has led to a more comprehensive multidisciplinary approach to patient care in a timely fashion.

CyberKnife usually treats brain tumors in one session, but treatment may require up to five sessions depending on the individual diagnosis. During treatment, highly focused radiation beams are delivered to tumors with sub-millimeter accuracy. The outpatient procedure does not require incisions or sedation.

“Patients typically experience few to no side effects following treatment,” Dr. Lamond said. “For some patients, choosing CyberKnife can mean a decreased risk of harming healthy brain tissue surrounding a tumor as compared with other treatment methods. Additionally, the ability to immediately return to their daily routines appeals to many of our patients.”

In addition to treating brain tumors, Philadelphia CyberKnife treats malignant and benign tumors in the prostate, spine, lung, liver, pancreas, kidney and eyes. Our center is currently finalizing clinical studies on brain, lung and gynecological cancers.

Profiles in CyberKnife Treatment: Role of the CyberKnife Nurse

Michael Good_Philadelphia CyberKnifeFrom the initial consultation with our treatment team to follow-up appointments with your CyberKnife® physician, the CyberKnife nurse works to address the needs and concerns of the patient.

The CyberKnife nurse provides clinical support and care coordination for patients. This includes assisting the CyberKnife radiation oncologist during patient consultation, educating patients and families in preparation for treatment, managing symptoms and coordinating appointments and treatment schedules.

Michael Good serves as our center’s CyberKnife nurse navigator. We are so grateful for the support and guidance he provides to our patients and their loved ones!

Hospital Partner Spotlight: Delaware County Memorial Hospital

PhiladelphiaCyberKnife_CrozerKeystoneLogoDelaware County Memorial Hospital is recognized for its wide spectrum of acute and specialty services. Established in 1927, the not-for-profit hospital features a Level II-A Neonatal Intensive Care Nursery, a Center for Breast Health honored by the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers, along with many other services. It is certified by The Joint Commission as a primary stroke center, in hip and knee surgery, and for its breast cancer care.

The hospital provides other notable services, including a Wound Healing and Hyberbaric Medicine center, an Emergency Department with a 14-bed Critical Intensive Care Unit, a comprehensive Maternity Center and a full range of musculoskeletal services.

The not-for-profit hospital is a founding member of the Crozer-Keystone Health System, a community-focused health care system dedicated to providing high-quality, cost-effective patient care and educating both current and future physicians and caregivers. The system comprises five hospitals, several outpatient centers and a sports club. It is the largest health care provider in Delaware County.

In 2006, Delaware County Memorial Hospital partnered with Philadelphia CyberKnife, which was the first provider of CyberKnife treatment in the Philadelphia area. We are so proud to be affiliated with such an accomplished hospital! For more information on Delaware County Memorial Hospital, click here.