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Greater Tulsa Reporter

Oklahoma CyberKnife Reflects on Milestones Over Four Years

PRECISE TREATMENT: Oklahoma CyberKnife has treated more than 800 patients since 2008 using the robotically controlled CyberKnife to deliver radiation to pinpoint locations in the body.

As Oklahoma CyberKnife reaches its fourth year in operation, the technology it provides for treating cancer and other medical conditions continues to gain attention from patients throughout the region.

Since opening in 2008 as a service of Hillcrest Medical Center, Oklahoma CyberKnife has treated more than 800 patients from around the state and surrounding states. Approximately 40 percent of patients treated at Oklahoma CyberKnife have traveled from outside the hospital’s primary service area.

The center treats tumors throughout the body and other medical conditions, like trigeminal neuralgia using the robotically controlled CyberKnife, which delivers precise, high-dose radiation to pinpoint locations in the body without a surgical incision or sedation. Lung tumors and brain tumors represent the majority of cases at over 65 percent of treatments.

“CyberKnife offers patients a treatment option that doesn’t impede on their lifestyle,” says Dr. Diane Heaton, medical director of Oklahoma CyberKnife. “It gives patients the benefit of a more rapid recovery, allowing them to return to their normal routines following each procedure.”

In recent years, CyberKnife has gained awareness among prostate cancer patients in particular. Many men are drawn to the convenience of shorter treatment and fewer side effects. Treatments are complete within five sessions versus about 40 treatments that are typically required with conventional radiation therapy.

In January 2012, Oklahoma CyberKnife reached a milestone in providing prostate cancer treatment when regional Medicare contractor TrailBlazer Health Enterprises agreed to expand prostate cancer coverage to include CyberKnife treatment, as long as patients are enrolled in a clinical study.

Oklahoma CyberKnife had been treating prostate cancer patients with commercial insurance since 2008, while those under Medicare in Oklahoma were denied access until TrailBlazer Health reversed its policy. The center joined a national multi-institutional registry for prostate cancer, allowing Medicare patients who join the registry to receive CyberKnife treatment. Participating institutions will analyze collected data to better prostate treatment protocols.

According to Heaton, the policy change was important, as some prostate cancer patients may refuse standard treatment like surgery because of the potential side effects that can impact quality of life.

To learn more about CyberKnife and whether you or a loved one may be a candidate, contact Oklahoma CyberKnife at 918-949-6676 or visit The center is located at 6802 South Olympia Ave. in Tulsa.

Updated 06-25-2012

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