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'Cyberknife' uses high-dose radiation to treat cancer

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Richard Lane (Source: KPHO-TV) Richard Lane (Source: KPHO-TV)
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SCOTTSDALE, AZ (CBS5) -

Getting a prostate cancer diagnosis would be devastating for any man. But what if we told you there's a treatment out there that involves zero cutting and may even be covered by insurance?

"Cyberknife" sounds pretty scary, but it doesn't involve any cutting at all. It involves radiation, but the technology is now so precise you could be done with treatment in a week. 

"It's like being a little bit pregnant," said Richard Lane. "It's not going to go away, it's going to get worse."

Though Lane has a sense of humor about it now, when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer two years ago, he didn't know what to do.

"There were four or five different options that he gave me and I didn't like any of them," he said.

A friend told him about Phoenix Cyberknife, which utilizes a robotic arm to deliver radiation to a concentrated area, like the prostate.

Lane said after one week of five, one-hour treatments, he was done. 

"I'd lay here and go to sleep, never felt a thing," he said.

We're told the secret is in the cameras. Because even breathing can cause a tumor to move during treatments, the cameras are constantly taking pictures of the area to adjust the target as needed.

"The patient is done after five treatment days as opposed to 45 treatment days," said Dr. Thomas Daniels. He said by trimming the treatment time, it's usually a cheaper option. And it can also be used to treat other cancers, like brain or lung cancer. But is it safe to have high dose radiation so close to our organs?

"In the instance of prostate cancer, we're able to shape the high-dose region very closely around the vital organs, which in this case would be the bladder and the rectum," Daniels said.

While it may not be the right treatment for everyone, Lane said he's been cancer-free for a year and plans to keep it that way.

"I'm 83 years old and I want to continue," Lane said.

The Cyberknife usually has the same side effects as regular radiation and has just been approved by Medicare to treat prostate cancer. For more information, go to http://www.phoenixcyberknifecenter.com.

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