Medical milestone as KU Hospital undertakes first CyberKnife treatment

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KUTRRH Chairperson Prof Olive Mugenda addressing the media on September 27.[ KUTRRH]

The Kenyatta University Teaching, Referral and Research Hospital (KUTRRH) has made another medical milestone, treating its first patient through the CyberKnife procedure.

Speaking on Wednesday, September 27 after witnessing the first treatment, KUTRRH Chairperson Prof Olive Mugenda said the journey to commissioning the machine is a major milestone for the hospital and Kenya.

Mugenda noted that the machine will now reduce the cases of patients traveling out of the country for medical attention.

“The commissioning of the CyberKnife system today is a major milestone for oncology management in Kenya. As part of the strategic plan, for the last few years, we have harbored the need to move into high-precision treatment. KUTRRH finally managed to acquire the machine, which is a bold but best decision for Kenya in efforts to decrease outbound medical tourism and increase inbound medical tourism,” said Mugenda.

The acquisition of the cyberknife machine- the first and only fully robotic radiotherapy device for cancer treatment, is part of the Level Six facility’s vision to create a Centre of Excellence in oncology by providing end-to-end diagnosis and treatment options for cancer patients.

President William Ruto commissioned the cyberknife at KUTRRH in April this year, aimed at providing better health services for non-communicable diseases in the country.

According to Mugenda, the treatment also marks a key milestone for Kenya, the region, and Africa in general. The services are now available for Kenyans without traveling outside the country or the continent for the regional patients.

KUTRRH medics explain the uses of the CyberKnife machine.[Photo, KUTRRH]

What is CyberKnife?

According to an online publication, the National Library of Medicine, Cyberknife represents a new, frameless radio surgery system that efficiently incorporates advanced robotics with computerized image reconstruction to allow highly conformal image-guided radiation delivery.

Cyberknife treatment is a painless and non-invasive care for cancerous and non-cancerous tumors.

KUTTRH avers it is an essential advancement in radiation therapy, offering precise and effective treatment options for a wide range of medical conditions, especially cancer while minimizing side effects and improving the overall patient experience.

What can the CyberKnife machine treat?

Patients to be treated with the machine vary depending on the specific conditions as treatment decision is made on a case-by-case basis, considering factors like the type and location of the tumour, and the patient's overall health.

Such treatment is recommended for various conditions, including cancerous and non-cancerous tumours.

The machine can be used to treat prostate cancer, lung cancer, brain tumors, spine tumors, and liver cancer, among others.

It can also treat non-cancerous conditions like Trigeminal Neuralgia and specific non-cancerous pancreatic lesions.

Certain functional disorders can also be treated like epilepsy by targeting specific brain areas responsible for seizures.

One of the importance of Cyberknife is that it can track the movement of tumors in real-time, adjusting the radiation beams accordingly.

It is a non-invasive treatment option since it does not require incisions or anesthesia which leads to quicker recovery times and fewer complications for patients.

The precise targeting of radiation with CyberKnife helps minimize damage to surrounding healthy tissues.

The CyberKnife treatment is delivered in 3 to 6 outpatient sessions compared to traditional radiation therapy, which requires 20 to 30 sessions to complete treatment.

It can treat tumours considered inoperable due to their location or the patient's health.

The treatment is covered by NHIF insurance which will make it easier for patients to access the services.

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