SOURCE: OR-Live, Inc.

June 09, 2008 16:20 ET

ORLive Presents: Experts Discuss the Benefits of CyberKnife Treatment

Live Webcast: From the CyberKnife Center at Miller-Dwan Medical Center: June 17, 2008 at 6:30 PM CDT (23:30 UTC)

DULUTH, MN--(Marketwire - June 9, 2008) - Surgery without a scalpel -- it's possible thanks to a high tech tool that treats tumors at the CyberKnife Center at Miller-Dwan Medical Center in Duluth, Minn. The public will get an opportunity to learn more about the benefits of stereotactic radiosurgery during a live webcast on Tuesday, June 17, 2008, at 6:30 p.m. CDT.

The CyberKnife uses extremely precise beams of radiation, combined with data from three-dimensional scans, to target tumors and lesions all over the body. It can eradicate malignant and benign tumors that were previously thought untreatable by more conventional surgical and radiation methods.

Several members of the CyberKnife team will help to explain this painless, cutting-edge treatment during the live webcast panel discussion. Medical Oncologist Daniel Nikcevich, MD, PhD, medical director of the Duluth Clinic Cancer Center, will answer questions as they are e-mailed by viewers. He'll be joined by Duluth Clinic Radiation Oncologist Kenneth Dornfeld, MD, PhD, and Orthopaedic Surgeon Thomas Kaiser, MD, who is the Chief of Surgical and Diagnostic Services at the Duluth Clinic. The manager of the CyberKnife program, Kelly Carlson, RN, MS, will field questions about the patient experience, along with a patient who has undergone CyberKnife treatment.

The CyberKnife Center at Miller-Dwan is one of only two sites in Minnesota that offer this treatment. Patients have come from as far away as Iowa and North and South Dakota. "This is a valuable resource in the region to help deal with difficult cancer problems," says Dr. Dornfeld.

During CyberKnife treatment, a robotic arm delivers pinpointed doses of radiation, with many small beams focused on the tumor. Where the beams intersect, the tumor receives a very high dose of radiation. But the surrounding healthy tissues receive very little radiation, or can be avoided altogether. Because of this delivery method, patients don't feel a thing -- some slight fatigue is the most common side effect.

The advanced technology allows the robotic arm to compensate for motion that occurs during a patient's breathing, and it's used frequently to treat lung cancer, as well as other tumors in the abdomen. CyberKnife is most effective at treating smaller lesions that are limited to a specific area.

"If it's located next to a sensitive structure, CyberKnife does a very nice job," Dr. Dornfeld explains. He's part of a team of healthcare providers at the Duluth Clinic, who work together to determine whether a patient is a candidate for CyberKnife and to develop a treatment plan. That can include a radiation oncologist, medical oncologist, surgeon, medical physicist, and radiation therapist.

This collaboration is one important way that the care at the Duluth Clinic Cancer Center stands out. "We offer comprehensive care to patients with cancer in a multidisciplinary fashion," says Dr. Nikcevich. "A lot of our patients are very complex. It's not something that can be sorted out with one physician."

CyberKnife treatment is often used in conjunction with other treatment options such as surgery and chemotherapy. Or it can be beneficial to patients who are not candidates for traditional surgery. The treatment can also be very effective in providing symptom relief to patients whose tumors are causing problems like pain, bleeding, or obstruction to other body parts.

The CyberKnife treatment will be the seventh live surgical webcast from SMDC Health System in Duluth. During previous webcasts, patients have had the opportunity to watch a weight loss surgery, a percutaneous coronary intervention, a minimally invasive abdominal aortic aneurysm repair, a pediatric osteotomy, minimally invasive colon surgery and knee-replacement surgery. Archives of those programs are available on

To learn more about this cancer treatment and view a program preview visit: OR-Live


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