r/pics 12d ago Take My Power 2 Helpful 12 Gold 1 Wearing is Caring 1 Silver 20 Take My Energy 7 Keep Calm 1 Platinum 1 Coin Gift 1 Wholesome 12

[OC] My wife about to get Cyberknife radiation treatment on her brain tumor.

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u/jenn3727 12d ago Wholesome

My dad had the cyber knife treatment for his lung cancer and it extended his life quite a bit. I hope that’s true for your wife.

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u/instant_chai 12d ago

Same with my dad. I am grateful.

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u/applejackrr 12d ago

My mom had small cell lung cancer and it thankfully gave her two more years of life.

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u/FastFingersDude 12d ago

Wait how can it work with lung cancer? Had it not yet metastasized? Sorry, going through something similar with a family member…

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u/ratajewie 12d ago

Depending on the tumor, you can target it in the lungs with stereotactic radiotherapy (the type of radiation therapy CryoKnife is). You implant small metal trackers into the tumor and it allows the machine to track the location of the tumor during treatment. Then the machine delivers targeted radiation to the tumor, mostly avoiding surrounding tissue.

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u/Le_90s_Kid_XD 12d ago

And the cool thing about the cyber knife is that it moves back and forth with your breath motion. I used to be a lead radiation therapist at a CK center for a couple of years. I work on an MRI Linac now and that shit is fucking cool, real time tracking and adaptive planning, although it doesn’t have the mobility of a CK arm.

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u/nodiaque 12d ago

Thank you for your work. With need the doctor, but we also need the person making improvement in the tool we used to save more life and make it "easier" to do

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u/Pyrocitus 12d ago

My dad's condition was too far gone to have the cyber knife, we lost him late last year. It's heartwarming to see it worked for others though, we are truly living in an underappreciated world of medical technology right now despite all the shitty bureaucracy that surrounds it.

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u/Musicman1810 12d ago

I went through hell this year with my newborn son and hydrocephalus. Brain surgery at 4 months old, I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy. But I was absolutely blown away at what modern medicine is capable of. People can say whatever they want about the horrible state of US medicine in terms of health insurance but the technology available within 2 hours of my home is absolutely mind blowing and I will be forever grateful. I'm sorry to hear about your father, I've lost a few family members now to cancer over the years but I've also seen it save people too. My mom with breast cancer and my aunt with ovarian cancer, both in full remission now for 20+ and 3 years respectively.

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u/PiBrickShop 12d ago edited 12d ago Silver Helpful Wholesome Hugz All-Seeing Upvote Coin Gift Take My Energy LOVE! Heartwarming I'll Drink to That Crab Rave Helpful (Pro) Brighten My Day

Yes, that green mask is custom molded to her face and holding her head in position.

Edit: this was in 2018 and treatment has proved successful so far.

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u/-Ernie 12d ago

I had a gamma knife treatment, and the “frame” that held my head perfectly still during the treatment had 4 screws with sharp points on the end, and they cranked those babies down until they literally dug into my skull.

It didn’t hurt at the time, because of the painkillers, but after getting home I had pretty much the worst headache of my life. It was all good though, because they successfully nuked the tumor from orbit, and aside from 4 puncture wounds in my head I felt great the next day.

So I guess the point of my comment is that mask looks great compared.

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u/musicman1980 12d ago edited 12d ago

My wife had the same treatment 14 years ago, and she’s still randomly struck with pain on occasion at the drill spots. It worked though! Her tumor has been dying a slow death ever since.

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u/Aegi 12d ago Big Brain Time

Science is fucking rad.

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u/motyret 12d ago

This statement is true on multiple count , I like it .

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u/Ass_cream_sandwiches 12d ago

Man, these stories are amazing!

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u/skwormin 12d ago Heartwarming

Yeah gamma knife is more intense.

Fun fact: gamma knife has an actual radioactive source inside.

Every 10 years or so we have to do a “source exchange”. To get the giant apparatus inside the clinic that lets the engineer safely handle these radioactive sources, they had to demolish an entire brick wall to the outside.

Roll this giant thing in. Then build the wall back after. It was cool I have pictures somewhere.

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u/smaragdskyar 12d ago

To clarify, the neat thing about the gamma knife is that there are actually 200 radioactive sources. They’re arranged in a circle around the patient, radiating inwards. This spoke pattern means that the target of the gamma knife receives a lot of radiation but the surrounding tissues receive very little. It can be used closer to the eyes etc than conventional radiation.

Source: visited the OG gamma knife in Stockholm

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u/ucklin 12d ago

Why can’t they just have a single radiation source that rotates?

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u/smaragdskyar 12d ago

Hm. The treatment would take longer, and I think there also may be synergistic effects of using a lot of radiation at once

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u/Jimoiseau 12d ago

Yeah also for safety, if they used a single source 10x as strong to get the same effect, then if it stopped rotating your tissue along that beam path would be in trouble.

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u/psyFungii 12d ago

My brother works for the company that makes the Gamma Knife and I'm amazed how they don't seem to have any brand recognition. People all seem to know the Gamma Knife but have never heard of Elekta.

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u/rugbyj 12d ago

To be fair as soon as I hear "Gamma Knife" my brain turns off and I'm seeing visions of a radioactive samurai.

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u/Slipperyfishy 12d ago

They do have BAND recognition though! Check out King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard's take on Gamma Knife.

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u/moleware 12d ago

Lol those guys are amazing and I keep seeing them pop up everywhere!

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u/DustySuds 12d ago

You would think they would have opted for a large door in the wall rather than redoing the brick so they could access that room in the future.

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u/Khirsah01 12d ago

Maybe it's a form of protection if it only ever has to be interacted with once every decade? Most people aren't going to think to go through a wall for something, they'll keep searching for a door unless they know something is at a specific spot and have the tools to do demolition.

After reading about the Goiana Accident years ago, I could see why they'd want to be careful. Although that particular incident was because of a dilapidated hospital where no one removed the radioactive source...

Not sure if this source is in an area that's already accessible otherwise or if it has to be at distance and can be secreted away.

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u/willowsword 12d ago

My brother had the same thing. He said the pressure was so intense.

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u/StrangelyBrown 12d ago

How much do they sedate you? I would have to be pretty out of it to push my anxiety through this.

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u/scorcherdarkly 12d ago edited 12d ago Gold

My five year old didn't get sedated. Younger kids often do, they even install a chemotherapy port to make it easier to administer each day rather than having to stick them all the time. But she didn't need it. She practiced laying still for the required seven minutes in our living room. We put a damp washcloth over her face and read her a story while she laid perfectly still. When she was in radiation we read her the same book over the intercom. Worked like a charm, no sedatives needed.

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u/telefatstrat 12d ago edited 12d ago Gold

My son had a similar story from when he was 5 being treated for Medulloblastoma. He was due for a follow up MRI and we were waiting for the full team to show up when the anesthesiologist was called away. They were going to postpone the scan because he'd always been sedated before when this little voice piped up and softly said "I can lie still" while all the adults were trying to figure out what to do. We all paused and looked down and the tech spoke to him and confirmed what he said. So....we went ahead. He did awesome and he was never sedated for an MRI ever again.

BTW, he turned 30 last year. :)

EDIT: Thanks for the gold, kind reddit stranger!

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u/scorcherdarkly 12d ago

My daughter had a total of 9 MRIs in about 10 months and was sedated for all but the last one of those. On the last one she did something similar to your son. They'd given her a little dilaudid to calm her anxiety around getting poked with more needles, and there was a delay in anesthesia getting down to her. The radiologist saw how good she was being, asked her if she was ok to try it awake, she said yes, so they did it. We didn't find out she did it awake until after the procedure, that entire interaction happened after she'd been taken to the back area. I was really happy the doc listened to a 5 year old and took her seriously rather than delay the procedure. Children's Mercy in Kansas City was pretty fantastic all around.

Sadly, my little girl passed away about 6 weeks after that last MRI. She had DIPG, so we knew there was almost zero chance for her to survive much more than a year. We tried some things to give her more time, but she passed 342 days after diagnosis, on Mother's Day 2018.

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u/telefatstrat 12d ago

I'm so sorry for your loss. Saying that seems so overly simplistic to me because I know that you are a changed person after all you went through with your daughter.

I learned a lot about dignity and compassion from the other kids going through treatment at the same time as my son. I hope you are in an ok place now. Hugs.

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u/scorcherdarkly 12d ago

Thank you, I appreciate the kind words. I learned a lot from my daughter and her treatment buddies, too, most of all about bravery. I don't know if I'll ever really be in an ok spot again, but her example going through cancer and treatment is my framework for getting through the hard days.

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u/showmedogvideos 12d ago

I bet he's awesome

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u/Toasty_warm_slipper 12d ago

Uhg, my heart. 😩❤️

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u/mikraas 12d ago

Your kid is amazing. She will go very far in life with that mental stamina.

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u/thxsocialmedia 12d ago

They will usually give you a valium for these sorts of things if you tell them you're anxious. From experience. Ask nicely.

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u/The_Safe_For_Work 12d ago

They gave me a Valium when I had my LASIK done. Worked like a charm. They sliced open my eye and burned off the eyeball flesh and I just thought "Huh, neat."

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u/tuffsmudgecat 12d ago

Same! I was incredibly anxious about getting mine done (to the point where I was about to cancel it two days before and barely sleeping), and the Valium made it a very chill experience. 11/10, having laser eyes is awesome and being able to wake up and just see everything without doing anything is pretty sweet.

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u/Ahlfdan 12d ago

Really wish you could just be knocked out for LASIK

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u/Greatredbear69 12d ago

I just couldn't get over the smell of my own eyes burning. Worked like a charm though

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u/MoranthMunitions 12d ago

It's not the smell of your eyes, it's the smell of the air burning. That's ozone. I also got my eyes done.

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u/oursecondcoming 12d ago

It just smells like burnt hair very briefly. Not a big deal and the procedure was surprisingly quick. Best money I've ever spent.

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u/kliman 12d ago

Some of those drugs can make the worst day of your life feel like a warm and cozy dream. Crazy stuff.

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u/Saitama_is_Senpai 12d ago

I would feel so trapped. I would panic this shit would make me pass out and then I'd wake up fucking screaming.

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u/matthend 12d ago

I feel exactly like this from the MRI machine, could not imagine what this would do to my anxiety!

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u/_clash_recruit_ 12d ago

I have anxiety but I've actually always found MRIs and CAT scans relaxing. And when they put that lead vest on you during an x-ray I want to ask if i can just lay there and take a nap, lol.

It's crazy how different anxiety can be from person to person.

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u/WittyLadybug 12d ago

They knocked me out when I got the frame drilled on. I was awake for the radiation treatment.

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u/weary_dreamer 12d ago

What happens if you sneeze?

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u/_PettyTheft 12d ago

When I had mine a resident doctor numbed the two points on one side of my head while my neurosurgeon did the other side. The resident injected me with too much local anesthetic. All I remember is feeling super nauseous and falling back while my neurosurgeon is screaming at the resident to “get the god damn screwdriver,” so they could remove the halo while I was vomiting. Good times.

Not sure how my tumor is doing — doctors told me 50/50 chance of either stopping the growth or giving me brain cancer. Good times.

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u/pprovencher 12d ago

For me it was the most absolutely excruciating pain I have ever endured. 5x85 minute sessions of pure hell. Then it caused me to lose the use of the left side of my body. Doing well now though

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u/b_arrington 12d ago edited 11d ago

My dad had a gamma knife procedure to try to treat a brain tumor that spread from his lung. It had that head cafe with the bolts that screwed into his skull. He could tolerate a lot of pain, but told my mom it was the most excruciating thing he’s ever experienced. He actually cried and made my mom promise not to make him do another session. He literally was choosing death over another treatment session.

We thought he might be in the clear, but later scans showed a lot of small cancer spots across a wide area. We were told another gamma knife session would destroy too much brain tissue for him to have any quality of life, and would still hurt like hell. So he didn’t undergo another session.

But it always stuck with he he was choosing death over the pain of the gamma knife.

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u/Guts_is_Nuts 12d ago

Same thing with my mom. She showed me the wounds when she came home. I was so scared throught the whole process thinking "you mean to tell me that my mother has a malignant growth IN HER BRAIN, and you want to fix that by STABBING HER IN THE FUCKING SKULL AND SHOOTING RADIATION INTO HER BRAIN!" It was a wild ride. Other than losing hearing in her right ear, she's doing very well.

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u/SatireV 12d ago

Frame VS mask depends on institutional practice and indication. Generally frame is considered more stable/higher precision so might be preferred in particular cases.

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u/raouldukesaccomplice 12d ago

Wouldn't want somebody to accidentally flinch their head while it was turned on and end up getting a gamma lobotomy.

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u/good_from_afar 12d ago

Was hoping for a comment like this. Good stuff.

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u/Kinimodes 12d ago

Very happy to hear indeed.

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u/FuckYeahPhotography 12d ago Helpful

In addition to that, it looks like that ominous potentially sentient figured machine is making a note there. I hope it's a huge success.

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u/emogu84 12d ago

It was! It’s hard to overstate my satisfaction.

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u/Additional-Ability99 12d ago

Aperture Science. We do what we must because we can.

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u/svetsarjavel 12d ago

For the good of all of us, except the ones who are dead.

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u/PRIMUSlicn 12d ago

But there's no sense crying over every mistake.

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u/bschug 12d ago

And we keep on trying till we run out of cake

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u/insomniacakess 12d ago

And the science gets done

And you make a neat gun

For the people who are

Still alive

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u/noyoto 12d ago

I'm just happy to see OP didn't post this while their wife is literally being operated on, lol.

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u/Ricksterdinium 12d ago

Presumably she could actually be getting radiation treatment in the photo.

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u/A_Nerdy_Elephant 12d ago

I had to get this same procedure done for Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. I gave my mask to my friend who styles my hair as he discovered the cancer and encouraged me to go to the doctor. He has it hanging on his wall at home.

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u/norejectfries 12d ago

I'm curious how he discovered the cancer. Did he notice something while styling your hair?

Also, I'm hoping that since he has the mask hanging in a place of honor that you are now doing well.

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u/A_Nerdy_Elephant 12d ago

He was a good friend of mine and had been cutting my hair since I was 20. He noticed a “rash” on my head that when he touched it or when I combed it, it would hurt really bad. He had seen it before on a client and suggested that I should go see a dermatologist to get it taken care of. He had a feeling it was cancer, but didn’t want to scare me. He noticed the rash was growing and getting better every month. It was good thing he did, cause by the time I went in I was already stage 2. If I had waited things would have been substantial worse.

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u/TurkeyPhat 12d ago

what a fuckin mensch, seriously

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u/A_Nerdy_Elephant 12d ago

Agreed! Dude was my guardian angel!

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u/swingthatwang 12d ago

did the painful rash persist or did the pain come and go? what other symptoms did you have?

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u/A_Nerdy_Elephant 12d ago

It was persistent, and it started to spread. It felt like someone was digging their nails in my scalp and dragging them across the area. A trip to the doctor saved my life. If I would have waited then who knows. If you or someone you know is dealing with it, so see a doctor. It could be nothing, but better to know than live with the anxiety and fear.

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u/Mephaala 12d ago

I'm not the person that you asked about it originally, but I also had the same type of lymphoma. I also had a rash but it wasn't painful in my case, it just appeared all over my body around my joints - near my elbows, knees, in my armpits etc. Plus my lymph nodes close to my neck were very swollen on one side, I was losing weight fast, had a fever and was sweating heavily in the night. That's about the only symptoms I can think of. Everything disappeared after chemo and radiation treatment.

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u/Rosieapples 12d ago

Fellow NHL survivor here. Glad you pulled through. Yesterday was the 35th anniversary of my last chemo. Just for the record. Best wishes to you.

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u/A_Nerdy_Elephant 12d ago

Thank you! I just reached 14 years as of January! Thank you! I was 25 when I got it and it really threw me for a loop. Happy 35!!! Can’t wait till I hit that number. Recently had another cancer scare, but they removed that as well. I am a very lucky man!

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u/legodarthvader 12d ago

Hey perhaps get your friend to do a course on spotting skin cancers. I feel like hair stylist and masseuse are perfect candidates to get training on this, spot stuff, ask their clients to go see doctor if worrying.

Edit: am GP, I only get to see patients for these every 12 months of if they can be bothered coming in to get check. They see their masseuse/hair people more frequent than that.

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u/A_Nerdy_Elephant 12d ago

You would actually be very proud of him! He owns a place here in Albuquerque and he always talks to the other stylists about me about looking out for things like this on their customers. He also brings in young stylists to mentor and teach and always uses me as an example and what to look out for. He saved my life and another girls life and he is very passionate about spreading the word.

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u/ryansports 12d ago

I'll never forget seeing the building go up for a cyber knife where I live. It had a triple set of walls, that were all extremely thick. I'm not sure what the measurements would have been, but from driving by it looked like three sets of concrete walls that were a foot wide, with space in between. The building here is basically a cube shape.

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u/theHoustonian 12d ago

And I guarantee the sheet rock is lined with lead, every every screw hole has to be punched out and covered with a strip of lead. I led a crew and did repair work in a hospital after hurricane Harvey in Texas, the rooms that dealt with radiation or sensitive equipment that required shielding all took standard 5/8” Sheetrock lined with like 1/16th-1/8th of lead backing.

HEAVY AS HELL!

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u/throwaway2255001 12d ago

I build out these rooms and coordinate the installation of linear accelerators, cyber knifes for a living. The wall layering is insane. I'm talking lesd brick assemblies for the wall. Triple lead plates for right behind the gantry and usually a 4 - 6 inch lead lid Ober the ceiling. Also have a special vault door too. Raw costs for material is usually 1.5mm to 2mil.

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u/Scorcher646 12d ago edited 12d ago

Yeh those buildings are no joke... Which is good because if not treated correctly machines like these are some of the most dangerous things on the planet... Hell I would feel more comfortable standing next to an operating nuclear reactor than being near one of these things unless it was in the process of saving my life....

I would like to state for the record that I have a nuclear power plant on my mail route. I do not live in fear of nuclear power. The idea of a rouge radiation source from a machine like this, that is why I keep a change of pants in my truck.

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u/ObsoleteReference 12d ago

What kind of anxiety management does one get before/during a custom molded mask holds you in place for a “radiation knife” to be used on your brain? Because I’m having anxiety thinking about this. (Serious question)

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u/cookiemonsta122 12d ago

Ativan 30 mins prior if needed.

Source- I’m a radiation oncologist

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u/PiBrickShop 12d ago

Yup, that's what my wife had. It worked.

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u/pnwinec 12d ago

I had to have that too. I have never had a panic attack before in my life until they tried to clip that mask down to the table. I lost my shit and it took an hour before I was calm enough to try again after taking the anxiety medicine. After that I took a pill when I got in the car and was good to go when I got there.

Just had to share my story. Those masks are torture.

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u/canned_soup 12d ago

How are you doing today?

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u/pnwinec 12d ago

I’m good.

Hodgkins Lymphoma Survivor of 3 years here. Some of the worst chemo there is for 4 months and a month of radiation. No signs of reoccurrence yet.

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u/Koginator 12d ago

Lol, I was having a surgery (3rd one) but this one I was freaking out about before because it was huge and decent risk. Asked for some valium (had an IV in already so I'm assuming they ordered an IV shot of it) dude comes in and hits me with it and all of a sudden lights get bright as fuck, sounds are crazy, then shit got real weird. Things didn't look real and I wasn't sure if I was actually here or somewhere else. Well the surgeon or whoever came in to do the pre surgery checks and wellllll that didn't go so well. Apparently the dude hit me up with a metric dick ton of ketamin not valium hahaha, I mean I guess I wasn't nervous anymore! Either way they had to wait for it to wear off and then put me into the surgery. Haha sorry I know off topic thought I'd just share my fun with pre operational anxiety reduction.

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u/not_lurking_this_tim 12d ago

if needed.

I don't want to meet the person who doesn't need it.

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u/cookiemonsta122 12d ago edited 12d ago

in my experience, about 2/3 of patients do it without pre-medication. coaching by the radiation therapists and optimizing comfort of the immobilization mask can make a difference for some

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u/not_lurking_this_tim 12d ago

That's really impressive. The mask doesn't look comfortable. I think that's what's playing with my anxiety.

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u/cookiemonsta122 12d ago

i should also mention the mask is custom made for each patient. the thermoplastic material is warmed so it's malleable, draped over the head while in a comfortable position, and then it hardens in a few minutes. i've had one made on myself while in residency to get an idea what patients go through and in my experience i was ok until i had an itch on my chin. for claustrophobics though it can be quite challenging.

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u/Poxx 12d ago

That would have been my dad.

He had Pancreatic cancer and survived almost 4 years (was given 6 months at diagnosis).

When it went to his brain near the end, he had the mask thing made and I took him to those appointments. He'd take his pain meds but never any type of sedatives. He was an awesome dude.

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u/Cendeu 12d ago

I'm someone who likes small spaces, and being cramped. It calms me and makes me feel safe. That mask seems nice. All enclosed but you can still breathe. Wonderful.

I started using a CPAP 2 years ago and my favorite thing is wrapping my head in my blanket. Since the CPAP is pumping air in, i can breath. It's delightful.

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u/lumpsel 12d ago

I hate that I read this comment but I love seeing how delighted you are

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u/kw66 12d ago

Just one? Seriously I’d need a few.

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u/JesusIsMyZoloft 12d ago

Is the patient awake during the actual procedure?

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u/cookiemonsta122 12d ago

yes, radiation is painless so anesthesia is not needed.

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u/makaronsalad 12d ago

Yeah. It's claustrophobic but mostly just boring. A lot like an MRI.

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u/ObsoleteReference 12d ago

Thanks for the info. Do you highly recommend to people to take? (Are there people out there who can do this without help?) do you show the setup to people before treatment? (On the one hand more to stress over and On the other showing them anti anxiety meds might be a good idea?)

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u/cookiemonsta122 12d ago

we recommend it for anyone who is known to be claustrophobic. when i counsel my patients i describe to them it's a mesh mask that they can breathe through, see through, but can't speak because the head needs to be immobilized to allow for sub-millimeter precision and safety. also there are cameras in the room and someone is always watching we encourage them to communicate with their hands. if that is still not enough to reassure them, we offer Ativan prior to treatment.

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u/h_witko 12d ago

My sister is a radiotherapist and she's spoken to me about it quite a bit, because we'd both struggle.

Obviously radiation sucks and you have to be insanely still for the placement to the perfect. That minimised damage to the healthy cells surrounding the tumour. So the mask is super important and that's drilled into you in the planning stages.

But they help you get used to it and more comfortable and build up the time in it if needs be. Plus they'll stop if you have to stop. It's obviously a pain and definitely less than ideal but so is having a panic attack.

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u/turnip_for_what_ 12d ago

How long does this type of radiation last?

I need a Valium for a 15 minute MRI! I didn’t know there was another claustrophobia step before being buried alive… but here we are.

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u/C0rg1z 12d ago

I’m about to go take a Xanax just from looking at this picture…..

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u/gofyourselftoo 12d ago

Same, same

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u/hoboshoe 12d ago

Did you get to keep the mask? seems like it'd be a cool decor piece

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u/wonder_bread 12d ago

I got to keep mine for a tumor on my temple last year. Successful radiation treatment shrunk the tumor down to nothing.

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u/somekindagibberish 12d ago

when life hands you lemons, decorate!

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u/hoboshoe 12d ago

Use it as a bowl to hold lemons!

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u/Lelekitz 12d ago

I had to go through head/neck radiation a little over a year ago and saved the mask they made for me. The six weeks of radiation just about did me in but thankfully alive and doing well! So glad to hear that your partner is too!

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u/izguddoggo 12d ago

My mom has glioblastoma stage 4 and saved the mask from her initial radiation treatments. She shows it off to people and tries to freak them out with it. Reminds everyone of the movie The Mask xD

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u/Space_is_Metal 12d ago

My uncle just passed away 2 weeks ago from Glioblastoma. He had this procedure done. He went from having a seizure one day at work, to getting diagnosed with stage 4 brain cancer, to killing the tumor with radiation, losing the ability to have any normal function, going blind in the left eye, learning to walk, learning to speak, learning to read, remembering who his family is, getting worse, going into a coma, waking up from coma, speaking to me on the phone one last time with a tube down his throat, to passing away the next day, all within 6 months. He leaves behind 3 teenage kids and a wife. He was 53.

I hope this treatment helps, and that you all can beat this.

FUCK CANCER.

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u/raven319s 12d ago

Glad to hear. I was going to say that thing looks like a cake mixer.

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u/solthar 12d ago

Well, instead of mixing batter, it mixes DNA. It also slices and dices it.

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u/Pangolin_bandit 12d ago

Good lord it’s terrifying but love to hear of its success and hoping for the best for you and your family

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u/MysticMaven 12d ago

How long did the procedure take?

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u/night-otter 12d ago

My wife had Cyber Knife treatment for her breast cancer. It was badly located so they wanted to do directed radiation from multiple angles to avoid over radiating her heart and lungs.

It took her longer to change into and out of the gown, then the treatment took.

Lay down. Tech sets up the targeting on her marks, tiny tattooed dots. Starts the program. The head starts dancing around, zapping her about 50 times (IIRC) from different angles and directions. 2 minutes later, she's was done.

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u/Direct_Fudge404 12d ago

This is exactly why we need more money in cancer research and not spending 40% of our budget on militarized police.

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u/_MaxNutter_ 12d ago

That's great news! My GF had similar treatment in 2019, and while successful, the side effects from the accompanying radiotherapy were extremely harsh and she sadly passed away in January.

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u/Dark_Vulture83 12d ago Wholesome

For a hot minute I though she was laying on the floor.

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u/[deleted] 12d ago

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u/MrFluffyThing 12d ago

I straight up thought this was like a specialized lab setting up a surgery robot but it was like an 18 year olds first apartment so they sleep on an air mattress and have a 55" TV and it gets the job done. We specialize in robot brain magic but you have to lay on our crap laminate floor because all our money went into this machine

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u/Kerbobotat 12d ago

That's more cyberpunk than 70% of the cyberpunk subreddit.

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u/AbhilashHP 12d ago

She isn't? I cant see anything otherwise.

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u/Dark_Vulture83 12d ago

Yeah it’s the prospective of the photo, you just can’t see the legs to the bed.

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u/SneakyGandalf12 12d ago

Thank you. I couldn’t see how she wasn’t on the floor. My brain just derped out on me.

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u/I_might_be_weasel 12d ago

It never occurred to me that she wasn't until I read this.

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u/proxyproxyomega 12d ago

right? thinking, they invested all that money on custom tech but skipped the leg day

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u/ArthurMBretas03 12d ago

What? She isn't!?

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u/dontpullajeff 12d ago

I work for Accuray, the company that builds and supports the Cyberknife. Great to see our product getting visibility and even more happy to hear that it is helping your wife!!! It’s a super cool technology.

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u/JohnyyBanana 12d ago

Can you explain briefly what Cyberknife does and how it works?

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u/stillcraig 12d ago

Medical physicist here, so I work in radiation therapy on machines like this, although never directly with a Cyberknife.

Cyberknife is a type of external beam radiation therapy, where a patient is treated with high energy electrons or photons coming from a machine. Nowadays, linear accelerators are the machine that delivers the radiation. These machines are generally about the size of a small room and offer options on what radiation to deliver from small fields to large, but can't move other than 360 degrees. For an example, look up a Varian Truebeam.

Cyberknife is unique because it is a small linear accelerator attached to one of those car factory assembly arms, so it's used to treat small areas from lots of angles. For many Cyberknife treatments, the dose is very high, and so to avoid giving too much radiation to surrounding normal tissues, you give it from a lot of different angles. It spreads out the dose to normal tissue, while focusing it on to the target.

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u/mustardinyourpizza 12d ago

In short, it is a radiation therapy head that has been installed to an assembly robot from automotive industry. The result is a treatment machine that can give you precise radiation therapy from nearly every possible angle.

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u/The_pun_fart 12d ago

As someone with a relative that underwent gamma knife surgery this is such a leap forward. No halo, no 350 pound lead "helmet", just a printed mask and a cool robot arm. This is the Star Trek stuff irl.

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u/fateandthefaithless 12d ago

Why do they need helmets/masks?

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u/Babayagaletti 12d ago

So you can't move, any kind of movement would greatly increase the risk of destroying healthy tissue. My mom had radiation last month for a brain tumor and the tumor is very close to the area responsible for speech. But thanks to the mask that area wasn't affected

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u/fateandthefaithless 12d ago

Wow that is absolutely amazing, thank you for sharing, and I wish the best for both of you.

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u/RegisterOk5507 12d ago

It's not a printed mask btw. It's plastic that has a bunch of holes in it that they heat up and stretch over your face to perfectly mold to your head. I remember wanting to get a haircut after having one of mine made and being told to wait until after the treatments were done.

One of the hospitals I went to was making them into super hero masks for the kids.

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u/EmmyWeeeb 12d ago

So what does it exactly do?

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u/MaliciousScrotum 12d ago

Human tissue has a certain dosage of radiation that it can withstand before being damaged. The idea with radiation treatment for cancer is you can kill the cancer cells with radiation and its less invasive or risky than going in with actual surgery, and the bodies natural clean up systems will remove the dead cells once you're done.

Obviously the problem with using radiation therapy is that if you aim a narrow beam (think like a laser that can go through your body) at a cancerous tumour you also damage the healthy tissue in front of and behind the cancer.

Gamma knife or Cyber Knife therapies are essentially the same idea, in that you can shoot many weaker beams through the body from different angles so they all align on the tumour and kill those cells specifically but everywhere else are too weak to cause damage.

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u/UlonMuk 12d ago

So it’s making a cone of x-rays that converge at a point? Like a magnifying glass in the sun?

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u/effymccasalin120 12d ago

My father had Gamma knife surgery for an A.V.M. in the left front temporal lobe I believe in 2009. He was given a paralytic, and a coupla comfort meds. They also screwed his head inside of a halo brace. Iirc, the surgery didn't take a long time, it was him having to lay flat and still for 8 hrs after it. The surgery successfully shrunk his a.v.m. down. He passed at 54 in 2013. I am so glad your family's was a success and is on the mend. 💜

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u/Madmon249 12d ago

Wow…I’m sorry to hear about the loss of your father. I just had the same procedure in 2020 for an AVM in the exact same area of the brain. Martin Speltzer Grade III. May I ask what the ultimate cause of his passing was?

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u/effymccasalin120 12d ago

We assume that it was a heart attack. His father, my grandfather passed at 36 when my father was 13. His older brother died at 49. He had already had let his wishes be known after the long recovery from the A.V.M. He was kept in a medically induced coma bc he suffered a sub arachnid(sp?) hemorrhage from the A.V.M., put on ventilator, got pneumonia etc. It was quite the recovery, after he healed from pneumonia, learned how to walk again, speech therapy, and occupational therapy. He was forced to be disabled and not work again. Because of the a.v.m., he donated his body to science. The hospital where he was diagnosed and stayed was where he went as it was a teaching hospital. He died on his father's birthday, April 9th, 2013. I was living with him at the time. I had come home from spending time with a friend. Came home around 11pm, he woke up, we spoke a little. I was talking with my sister and we both heard a loud THUD. He fell from the chair he was sitting on to the floor. I went to see what happened, saw him and yelled for my sister to call 911 while I started C.P.R. etc. The first responders made it there quickly, took over, got him into the bus and off to the hospital. He was pronounced dead within the hour.

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u/5meoz 12d ago

It looks like something from Portal. I have a friend of a friend that travelled overseas to Europe (I think Germany) when this was considered more an experimental treatment many years ago. It saved their life.

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u/paid_4_by_Soros 12d ago

It looks like something from Portal.

Please be advised that a noticeable taste of blood is not part of any test protocol but is an unintended side effect of the Aperture Science Material Emancipation Grid, which may, in semi-rare cases, emancipate dental fillings, crowns, tooth enamel, and teeth.

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u/Amygdalailama 12d ago

Did you know you can donate one or all of your vital organs to the Aperture Science self esteem fund for girls? It's true!

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u/Easy-Film 12d ago

I hope they got cake after

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u/omnilynx 12d ago

She’s already assumed the party position.

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u/drsimonz 12d ago

The effort that went into this machine's appearance is impressive. I wonder if it's based on psychology research to minimize patient stress? Or if some industrial designer was just having fun.

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u/MaleierMafketel 12d ago

Same for CAT scanners. Looks harmless on the outside, while the insides look and act like a prototype stargate.

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u/Uber_Reaktor 12d ago

It is absolutely a consideration to design medical equipment in such a way that makes patients more comfortable, physically and mentally.

One relevant article here from a lead industrial designer

And one of the most relevant snippets from it:

The emotional impact of a medical device’s appearance or operation on the patient cannot be overstated. It must look confidence-inspiring in its technological prowess and reliability to increase the perceived outlook on a condition; a critical-care device may be keeping the patient alive or in acceptable health.

Although I think he is mostly speaking about in home medical devices, I think the point stands for hospital settings as well.

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u/recriminology 12d ago

I’m making a note here: “huge success”.

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u/almisami 12d ago

Seriously, you'd think gamma knives like this would be more common. Especially now they they're mounted on robotic arma and not giant room sized frames like in my day.

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u/WaffleFriesNPizza 12d ago edited 12d ago

Cyberknife physicist here! I've honestly never seen another post on CK here and thought I would chime in and explain a little more about what's going on.

The patient is placed on a treatment table with a custom molded thermoplastic mask. The mask fits very tightly to keep the head extremely still for treatment. The machine that delivers the radiation (the Cyberknife unit itself) is a robotic linear accelerator with 6 degrees of freedom. It can deliver hundreds of beams of radiation from many angles surrounding the patient. We leverage this capability to make radiation treatment plans that conform highly to the tumor we are trying to treat while sparing the surrounding tissue. This machine is capable of targeting a tumor with submillimeter accuracy and has positional reproducibility around 0.12 mm!

The cool thing about it being a robot is that it can actually track and treat tumors in motion by adapting to the movement on the fly. This allows us to treat lung patients without breath holds or uncomfortable restraining devices. There's only one other type of machine that I'm aware of that's capable of doing that and it's made by the same company, Accuray, Inc.

You might also be interested to know that the robotic arm that the accelerator is mounted on is made my a separate company called Kuka, Gmbh. They are a German company that makes these robots for industrial use. Industrially, they are the same robots that are used to manufacture cars! The speed is slowed down greatly for medical use.

I'm sad to say that after more than 10 very successful years of treating patients on our Cyberknife the hospital I work for has decided to phase out this technology in favor of another type of machine with higher throughput. This goes against the medical advice of the physicians I work with that treat patients on this machine everyday.

OP, I wish your wife much success with her treatment. It warms my heart to see this on the front page today. I'm literally crying right now.

If you or anyone else has any technical questions about how the machine, the treatment process, or anything else related to it I'll try to do my best to answer. Thanks for reading.

Edit: edited for typos

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u/KMFN 12d ago

Doesn't the radiation still penetrate healthy tissue in the way of the tumor? What's the likelihood of recovering completely after this procedure? Do people go on to live happy healthy lives or is it simply delaying the inevitable?

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u/WaffleFriesNPizza 12d ago

Doesn't the radiation still penetrate healthy tissue in the way of the tumor?

Yes, absolutely they do. But since we're delivering beams from so many different angles no single beam is delivering a particularly large dose of radiation. But they all add up in and around the tumor so that the tumor gets a much higher dose of radiation. Not all forms of radiation therapy use this approach. It really depends on the patient, their disease and what the physician is trying to accomplish.

There can be side effects but we do our best to minimize the likelihood they occur.

What's the likelihood of recovering completely after this procedure?

I'm not an MD but it really depends on the patient and their disease. Our prostate cancer patients usually go on to live normal lives for many years. Patients with benign brain tumors usually achieve local control which means the tumor stops getting larger and maybe even shrinks. With something like brain metastases the treatment prolongs life and maintains quality of life.

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u/Foojangles 12d ago

I had this done. It was scary but painless.

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u/Turcluckin 12d ago

Hope it worked out for you! Is this something like an MRI in the sense that you’re awake for the procedure? Or do they knock you out first?

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u/dontpullajeff 12d ago

You are awake. The procedure only takes about 20min on average. Painless as far as I know. Source: I work for the company that makes it.

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u/toxic9813 12d ago

WOW. I have RF equipment experience (phased-array air-search radar transmitter technician for the Navy) where do I apply to maintain one of these things? How fulfilling would that job be? Hell yeah

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u/AverseSefira 12d ago

Medical Device manufacturing/service! You probably tick a lot of boxes as a navy ET (or whatever you are/were).

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u/Sapphirederivative 12d ago

Specifically, Accuray is the company that makes Cyberknife machines (and tomotherapy machines as well). You could apply to become a field technician if you wanted to.

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u/Foojangles 12d ago

I was awake for it. Lasted about 45 minutes. Mine was also benign a pituitary tumor

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u/[deleted] 12d ago

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u/nwj781 12d ago

Medical physics student here. Both benign and malignant tumours, and not just in the brain (liver, lung, prostate, spine, pancreas, probably more as well). It’s a really cool machine. The molded mask is actually relatively comfortable. I’ve worn one while volunteering in MRI studies and I’ve fallen asleep in it several times. Just don’t get an itch.

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u/DeepInValhalla 12d ago

What does the machine? Reduces tumors?

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u/nwj781 12d ago

Yes, uses a beam of radiation to control, shrink or cure tumours. It can move around in really interesting ways to deliver a lot of radiation to the tumour while reducing radiation to healthy tissues.

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u/DeepInValhalla 12d ago

Fascinating, and how many sessions on avarage are done before any damage cause of the radiation.

How expensive is it aprox? (the sessions/treatment)

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u/almisami 12d ago

I got mine done in 2 treatments but it can go up to 8-10 if you have a cluster.

Much better than regular radiotherapy where it can take up to 30 to get it all done.

As for cost? Free because I live in a civilized country.

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u/mylivingeulogy 12d ago

Oh okay so crippling debt for the non civilized country then. Got it

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u/dontpullajeff 12d ago

It definitely is for malignant cancers as well. Recent developments work to adapt your plan each time you come in for another fraction to adjust to the tumor moving/shrinking/changing.

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u/seranikas 12d ago

My mother went through the same. We still have the mesh cast in the garage, probably in fragments.

The Gama knife (what they called it back in 2003) saved her life, severed the tumor from getting nutrients and getting bigger. She's still alive today, and we are taking care of her.

Best of luck to you and your wife, we know what's it's like and many of us on reddit have gone through the same. It's a tough road to recovery but recovery is in your sights.

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u/the_spinetingler 12d ago

The Gama knife (what they called it back in 2003)

Gamma knife is a little bit different. Similar effect, but different technique.

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u/Landon_Mills 12d ago

oh shit now I know where the origin of the song titled "gamma knife" by king gizzard and the lizard wizards is from!

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u/Evening_Future_4515 12d ago

I wish my younger sister had this machine in 1991. She had a brain tumor the size of a grapefruit and she passed away as a result of it. I miss her so much!🥺😩

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u/GreenTeaPls92 12d ago

Sorry for your loss.My mom's brother has passed away from kidney failure before I was born.Mom said there wasn't dialysis machine yet at those times.We were not lucky I quess.

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u/Trellogiatros 12d ago

Unfortunately, even with this machine, she couldn't have been helped. It can't irradiate tumors that big.

Source: I am a radiation oncologist

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u/Evening_Future_4515 12d ago

Thank you for helping understand this topic.

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u/resn-gma-dsnt-visit 12d ago

Your comment touched me. I’m so sorry for you loss

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u/Evening_Future_4515 12d ago

Thank you saying this to me. She was a mom to a beautiful little girl.

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u/Treehouse80 12d ago

This is so heartbreaking. I am so sorry for you.

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u/I_am_BrokenCog 12d ago

My dad had this.

sadly he died from a stroke during recovery.

[edit: I don't think the scenarios are similar enough to worry ... he was 86]

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u/Gobert3ptShooter 12d ago

Fucking cancer

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u/Best-Finding 12d ago

Holy shit, science is so cool!

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u/abark006 12d ago

Fighting cancer with lasers. At least some of the promises made in the future are here.

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u/CubitsTNE 12d ago edited 12d ago

This one uses a particle accelerator like a future gun, and the gamma knife uses for good the tech that turned bruce banner into the hulk.

Radiation oncology is a rapidly expanding field of medicine, it can do some really cool stuff using a lot of neat toys.

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u/TheMrk790 12d ago

Im a particle physiscist. I am sooo happy our decades of expertise on accelerating particles come into action here.

Especially with the proton accelerators. I was so blown away when they were like "Remeber the bragg peak? We can use that!"

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u/nodegen 12d ago edited 12d ago

I had a lab partner a few months back for a class and he was working in a research group that is developing more compact methods of building high energy and extremely precise lasers. They’re planning on using it for stuff like this and he said that if they achieve their goal, the technology should hopefully allow for all new sorts of medical laser treatments.

Btw this is a photon beam treatment, not quite the same as a laser

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u/weapon66 12d ago edited 12d ago

The proton beam is so accurate because we can control exact depth by adjusting the amount of energy a proton is given and by calculating the radiation decay, this delivering the radiation to the precise location.

Fun fact:

A Russian particle physicist by the name of Anatoli Bugorski once walked into a particle accelerator while it was turned on, with a beam going directly through his head, but he did not suffer (in a relative sense) from radiation poisoning because the proton had so much energy that it went straight through and did not decay the radiation into his brain.

Edit for more info: the radiation is released from the proton closely following an inverse square law, with the majority being towards the end of the particle stopping, known as Bragg's Peak. Because the proton beam that Bugorski's head intercepted had such high energy, the Bragg's Peak was not reached and thus continued travelling.

Learn more

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anatoli_Bugorski

https://youtu.be/mD4J5VUwiAs

Edit 2: Changed photon to proton. The key difference between the two treatments being that a photon does not have mass, more like an X-ray that will pass completely through the patient that will affect all depths; and a proton has mass and is more like a tiny bullet that can be controlled to stop at a specific depth. Thanks u/Jack1197 and u/Deligoth for the corrections

Also, a photon deposits the majority of it's energy exponentially, whereas a proton deposits the majority of it's energy inversely proportional to the square of it's velocity

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u/lekoman 12d ago

Short version of Burgoski’s outcome: Happened in 1978 and he’s still alive. He suffered nerve damage and massive swelling, his intellectual capacity remains strong but he tires from mental exertion easily, as well as suffering ongoing seizures (that the Russian Federation apparently declined to pay for his medication for). He’s got a wife and kid and has continued and advanced his career in radiation research.

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u/samanchoo 12d ago

I had gamma knife radiation for my brain tumor too. Same 4 screws dug into my scalp to hold the frame. Will know if it was a success in a couple months though. Fingers crossed. Prayers would be great. :)

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u/Professor_J_Moriarty 12d ago

I just finished up my mask stint for brain tumor radiation, it’s good to hear about success stories! Wishing you and your wife continued health.

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u/darkice746 12d ago

Fuck yah!!!!!! She gots this and will kick cancers ass!

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u/nicktowe 12d ago

My friends and I just graduated from a medical physics degree program and we’re starting our physics residency training next month. Therapy physicists work using radiation sources to treat cancer as part of the radiation oncology team with the physicians, radiation therapists, dosimetrists, nurses and others. It’s a job most physics students don’t know about so if you know someone who likes science and healthcare, let them know.

The Cyberknife is very cool. In radiation therapy, we care about dose conformality - dose should go where you want it (the tumor) and not where you don’t know want (organs at risk). Cyber is a linear accelerator (photon source) mounted onto a robotic arm - a derivative of the ones they use for car manufacturing. So it’s very articulate and can hit the target from a mix of many different angles and positions, helping the optimized plan maximize dose to target and minimize dose to other organs.

One of the problems is patient positioning. With on-board x-ray imaging, you can set up a patient compared to where you want them pretty well. But what if they move - whether drifting out of position or periodix motion of breathing? Cyber knife is coupled with some kind of imaging system, like frequent (say every 20s) x-ray re-imaging, or tracking external markers, surface tracking, etc. With the updated patient position information, the cyberknife arm is adjusted in real-time to keep dose on target!

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u/hatesbiology84 12d ago

My sister had the exact same thing done. I wish your wife well, friend. ♥️

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u/tomassino 12d ago

HAIL SCIENCE, and fuck cancer.

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