What to Expect

A Rapid, Non-invasive Treatment

The CyberKnife® System is an image-guided linear accelerator mounted to a robotic arm that is specifically designed to deliver SBRT. It is this robotic precision of the system, combined with real-time motion synchronization of the radiation beam to the tumor’s position, that makes such a difference for patients.

Many patients respond well to multi-modality treatment that combines radiation therapy with systemic treatment such as chemotherapy. CyberKnife SBRT may be completed in as little as 5 sessions and typically does not require interruption to the chemotherapy cycle.


Treatment with the CyberKnife System is an outpatient procedure that does not require incisions or general anesthesia. Most patients will not require hospitalization or a long recovery period. Prior to the initiation of treatment, fiducials need to be implanted within the pancreas through a minimally invasive procedure, to track the movement of the tumor.


CyberKnife treatment can typically be completed in as little as 5 sessions, compared to 20 to 30 sessions over 4 to 6 weeks with conventional radiation therapy.


The CyberKnife System delivers the required radiation dose to the target with sub-millimeter accuracy, improving pain control and potentially minimizing the risk of gastric or duodenal obstruction.1

A faster return to everyday life

With CyberKnife treatment, the majority of patients can continue normal activity during and immediately following treatment. Importantly, the CyberKnife System has been shown to reduce the risk of common side effects, such as gastric or duodenal obstruction, protecting quality of life both during and after treatment. In some circumstances, side effects may occur.

Your CyberKnife Treatment Process


The CyberKnife System treatment process begins with a consultation with a radiation oncologist who will provide perspective on this treatment option specific to your condition. The physician will review your biopsy results, imaging and other medical conditions.


Pancreatic cancer treatment with the CyberKnife® System involves a multi-disciplinary team approach, which may include several specialists:

  • Gastroenterologist
  • Medical Oncologist
  • Radiation Oncologist
  • Surgical Oncologist
  • Medical Physicist
  • Radiation Therapist
  • Medical Support Staff


Prior to CyberKnife treatment, you will undergo imaging scans so that your treatment team can establish the exact size, shape and location of your pancreas tumor, determining the position of the fiducials, as well as nearby anatomy.


Prior to the initiation of treatment, fiducials will need to be implanted within the pancreas through a short, minimally invasive outpatient procedure. Fiducials are markers that show on X-rays to help the CyberKnife System pinpoint the tumor’s exact location.


As part of the preparation process, you may be fitted for a personalized body cradle designed specifically to make treatment more comfortable for you while ensuring body position is the same for each treatment session. You will also be fitted with a special vest, which is worn during treatment and enables the CyberKnife robot to adapt and synchronize treatment delivery with your natural breathing.


Following these preparatory visits, you will return for specific imaging for radiation therapy and treatment planning. Using CT, MRI and/or PET scan data, your treatment team will determine the area to be targeted by radiation, the radiation dose, and identify critical structures — such as the bowel and other surrounding organs at risk — where radiation should be avoided.

A medical physicist will then calculate a precision-optimized radiation delivery plan, leveraging the CyberKnife System’s extreme maneuverability to help deliver an accurate treatment.


Approximately 1 to 2 weeks after your treatment plan is finalized, you will begin treatment sessions.

There are typically 5 sessions of short duration over consecutive days. 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 pre-defined position, it will stop to precisely deliver the dose while correlating your breathing motion with the tumor position.

Treatment sessions are non-invasive outpatient procedures, and nothing will be required of you during treatment. No patient restraints. No breath holds. No anesthesia.


Most patients experience minimal side effects and can quickly return to their daily routines with little interruption to their normal activities during or following their treatment.

Your medical team 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.

Learn More About Side Effects

Find a CyberKnife Treatment Center

Learn More About CyberKnife Treatment


1 Song Y, Yuan Z, Li F, et al. “Analysis of clinical efficacy of CyberKnife® treatment for locally advanced pancreatic cancer.” OncoTargets Ther. 2015;8:1427–1431.

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Educating others about your experience with the CyberKnife® System can help others who face similar decisions about their own cancer treatment choices.

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Please note: Accuray is the manufacturer of the CyberKnife®, TomoTherapy®, and Radixact® Systems. As the manufacturer, we are unable to provide specific medical advice, view medical records, or schedule appointments.
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Important Safety Statement: Most side effects of radiotherapy, including radiotherapy delivered with Accuray systems, are mild and temporary, often involving fatigue, nausea, and skin irritation. Side effects can be severe, however, leading to pain, alterations in normal body functions (for example, urinary or salivary function), deterioration of quality of life, permanent injury and even death. Side effects can occur during or shortly after radiation treatment or in the months and years following radiation. The nature and severity of side effects depend on many factors, including the size and location of the treated tumor, the treatment technique (for example, the radiation dose), the patient’s general medical condition, to name a few. For more details about the side effects of your radiation therapy, and if treatment with an Accuray product is right for you, ask your doctor.