Radiation Services and the CyberKnife 

Saint Louis University Hospital’s Radiation Medicine Services provides individualized care to each and every patient and is known for “going above and beyond” to provide a compassionate environment. Our goal is for all patients and caregivers to leave the department feeling satisfied.

Patient education is another very important aspect of our Radiation Medicine Services. Our staff continually educates patients on the specific disease process and the specific steps that they will undergo for treatments, and how SLU Cancer Center technologies and physicians will play an important role in their overall oncology care.

The following are some of the resources provided by the hospital’s Radiation Medicine Services:

  • Saint Louis University Cancer Information Center provides patients with one-on-one support from information center nurses and an American Cancer Society representative. Patients learn what services are available from the SLU Cancer Center, ACS and the community.
  • A pastoral care representative is usually in the waiting room, interacting with patients who are waiting for a medical visit or treatment.
  • A registered dietitian is on-call at all times and available to visit the department to consult on a variety of topics ranging from meal preparation to G-Tube maintenance.
  • Social service is another shared service that is available to all patients if assistance is required.
  • The department offers complementary/alternative therapies to cancer patients, including music therapy and visual imagery. These therapies provide a warm, inviting and relaxing atmosphere; reduce anxiety; promote relaxation; distract from painful symptoms; and aid the body in repairing its tissue while flushing out the toxins produced by the cancer and the treatments.  

The CyberKnife 

The CyberKnife Stereotactic Radiosurgery System, offered by Saint Louis University Hospital and the physicians of Saint Louis University, is a noninvasive outpatient treatment without the risks and complications associated with traditional open surgery. The CyberKnife System uses enhanced radiation technology to precisely ‘paint’ tumors with beams of radiation, while sparing the surrounding healthy tissue.

Now there is a treatment option for tumors and lesions nearly anywhere in the body, including in the brain, lung, neck and spine that may have been previously considered inoperable or inaccessible by radiation therapy. The CyberKnife also allows for treatment of the liver, pancreas and early stage prostate cancer.

Potential benefits of CyberKnife treatment include:

  • Better quality of life during and after treatment
  • Better access to hard-to-reach, larger or previously inoperable tumors
  • More accurate radiation targeting for minimal radiation exposure to surrounding tissue
  • Ability to treat multiple tumors in different locations during a single session
  • Treatment of lesions that have previously undergone the maximum allowed dose of traditional radiation therapy
  • Improved comfort due to the elimination of an invasive head frame
  • No incision or scalpel
  • No blood loss
  • No anesthesia required for treatment
  • No recovery time
  • Immediate return to normal activities
  • Fewer complications than traditional surgery such as infection, hemorrhage or nerve damage
  • Two convenient locations

Conditions treated with the CyberKnife include:

  • Malignant brain tumors: astrocytomas, gliomas, intracranial metastases, nasopharyngeal carcinomas
  • Benign brain tumors: acoustic neuromas, benign intracranial, craniopharngiomos, hemangioblastomas, meningiomas, pituitary adenomas, schwannomas
  • Vascular malformations: arteriovenous malformations (AVMs), cavernous malformations
  • Extracranial tumors and lesions: base of skull, head and neck, spine/bone (cervical, lumbar, thoracic, sacral, pelvic), liver, lung, pancreas and prostate