Liver Cancer Treatment Process

Liver Cancer

  • 1. Your Team

    Liver cancer treatment with the CyberKnife® System involves a team approach, in which several specialists participate. Your team may include:

    • A general surgeon
    • A radiation oncologist
    • A medical oncologist
    • A medical physicist
    • A radiation therapist
    • A dosimetrist
    • Medical support staff

    Once the team is in place, the patient will begin preparation for CyberKnife treatment.

  • 2. Preparation

    You may be scheduled for a short outpatient procedure in which three to six fiducials – tiny gold seeds each about the size of a grain of rice – are inserted into and around the liver tumor. The CyberKnife System uses those fiducial markers as reference points to identify the exact location of the tumor during treatment. Once fiducials are implanted, you must wait approximately one week before CyberKnife treatment planning can begin to ensure that fiducial movement has stabilized.

    During set-up and imaging, you will be fitted for a custom body cradle, which is designed to keep you comfortable and ensures consistent positioning for both imaging and treatment. You also will be fitted with a special Synchrony vest, which is worn during treatment and enables the robot to correlate chest motion and breathing patterns with the tumor position.

    While wearing the vest and positioned in the cradle, you then will undergo a series of CT imaging studies, which will enable the CyberKnife team to determine the exact size, shape and location of the tumor. An MRI or PET-CT scan also may be necessary to fully visualize the tumor, liver and nearby anatomy.

  • 3. Treatment Plan

    Using the imaging data, your medical team will determine the size of the area being targeted by radiation, the radiation dose, and identify critical structures where radiation should be minimized.

    The CyberKnife System then calculates the optimal radiation delivery plan, leveraging its extreme maneuverability to deliver a safe and accurate treatment.

  • 4. Treatment

    During treatment, the CyberKnife System’s computer-controlled robot will move around your body to various locations from which it will deliver radiation. At each position, it will stop to determine precisely where the radiation should be delivered.

    Nothing will be required of you during treatment, except to relax and lie as still as possible.

  • 5. Post-treatment

    Most patients experience minimal side effects and can quickly return to their daily routines with little interruption to their normal activities. Doctors will discuss all possible side effects prior to treatment and may prescribe medication to control any side effects, should they occur.

    You also should schedule and attend any follow-up appointments.