After surviving Mantle Cell Lymphoma (MCL) for 5 yrs I've now been diagnosed with Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC), which so far has manifested in a small tumor in the neck and one tonsil. I'm a non-smoker and it's a pretty early detection so the prognosis is good. My treatment options (in Australia) are surgery or radiotherapy. The radiotherapy will be 35 sessions of treatment M-F, for 6-7 weeks, total of 68 gray, the side effects are not great and involve skin burn, mouth ulceration, difficulty eating, dental issues, etc, but for the most part will be temporary and offer very good prospects of a cure. The surgery option on the other hand has more drastic side effects and permanent trauma, so it's looks like radiotherapy will be the path. My concern is that this treatment may impact on future treatment options if the MCL relapses (evidently it's just a matter of time) as I'm told there's a limit to the amount of radiation that can be administered, and my initial MCL treatment did involve radiation although at a lower level. I've been informed that another possible treatment option to explore is the cyberknife, which unfortunately is not available in Australia (although there are over 200 systems installed worldwide, mostly in USA, but including India & Vietnam!). A search of this forum didn't reveal much about the cyberknife, but I'm wondering if anyone has knowledge or experience of this treatment and if so could they post their experience. There's plenty of info about the cyberknife on other websites (http://www.cyberknifeaustralia.com/about-us/what-is-cyberknife/, http://www.accuray.com, http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=43255564285) which I'm still absorbing, but after what I've read so far I'm amazed we don't have this system in Australia.
I had a head a neck cancer and was treated with chemotherapy and then radiotherapy combined with another chemo drug. I did not suffer all the side effects you speak of, although they certainly need to be considered. I think the problem with radiotherapy is that it cannot be administered in the same place more than once. In saying that it is very precise as to which place it hits. I am glad that the chemo and radio have worked for me as surgery was going to be a very invasive option and would have left me speechless and unable to ever speak again.
Cyberknife is meant to be the bees knees apparently and hopefully aus will get one. Will go read your link later on.
From reading the cyberknife patient forums it's apparent that CK is not an appropriate treatment for thoracic Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC). Search the patient forums for more info - http://www.cyberknife.com/Search.aspx?searchtext=SCC.
I see that Melbourne's Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre may be getting a CyberKnife system, however, it was a state Labor election promise and they lost, so I wonder if it will still be funded? See http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/victoria/labors-8m-cancer-promise/story-e6frf7kx-1225948859945.
Western Australian Health Minister Dr Kim Hames has promised the Cyberknife treatment will become a part of the cancer centre at St. Charles Gairdner Hospital due to open in 2012.
Cancer Council NSW would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we live and work.We would also like to pay respect to elders past and present and extend that respect to all other Aboriginal people.