Karachi Cancer at early stage is curable through the latest robotic radio-surgery by Cyberknife and treatment of cancer is available in Karachi, said Project Director CyberKnife Unit, Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC), Prof Tariq Mehmood on Saturday.
Tariq Mehmood, who is also the Head of Radiology Department at the JPMC, says that “cyber” and “knife” words show that this treatment is a computerised surgery.
According to him, the robot can cure early stage of brain, head and neck, spine, prostate, lungs cancers etc by one to five sessions of two-hour radio-surgery by Cyberknife. It is also used for curative treatment for many non-cancerous conditions like trigeminal neuralgia, arteriovenous malformations, and functional disorders.
Cyberknife treatment is cutting-edge technology, as treatment is precise, painless and non-invasive (no injections/ anesthesia is required). It is a day care procedure without any significant side-effects and a patient can go back to work the next day. This system was brought to Pakistan for the first time in December last year, and four to six patients are being daily treated at the JPMC’s CyberKnife Unit.
The Patients Aid Foundation (PAF) had arranged Pakistan’s first whole body robotic radio-surgery Cyberknife through donations worth USD 4.1 million (approximately Rs 400 million). Renowned social worker and philanthropist Abdul Sattar Edhi also contributed in this regard.
About 250 Cyberknife units are installed around the world and per patient cost of treatment in Europe/USA varies from USD 50,000 to 90,000.
PAF-JPMC is the world’s first NGO offering free Cyberknife treatment irrespective of nationality, religion, and ethnicity. Patients are coming for treatment from all over the country as well as from abroad including Bahrian, Abu-Dhabi, Sharjah, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Nigeria, Russia and Afghanistan.
During the last 10 months, the JPMC unit has completed more than 627 sessions of radio-surgery and successfully treated cases of brain, head, neck and spinal tumors including acoustic neuromas, arteriovenous, malformations, pituitary adenomas, meningiomas, schawanomas, galiomas, neurofibromas, astrocytomas, GBM, brain metastasis, giant cell tumor, chordoma, nerve sheath tumor, haemangioblastoma, post surgical chondrosarcoma, glomus jugulare etc.
The case of a patient opting for CyberKnife treatment is discussed by a radiologist, radiation oncologist, physicist, and radiation therapist. Early stage tumors up to 3.0 cm are treated with single session and larger size (more than 3.0 cm) tumor requires more sessions, for example 7.0 cm tumor may require five sessions. The treatment time is approximately 02 hours and USD 1,000 is the expenditure if treated in single session.
Tariq Mehmood said that with the help of ongoing donations, about 1,000 patients could be treated every year, adding, “This has all been made possible by the charity of the PAF’s private donors and we need donations worth $1 million every year to cover the cost of equipment and staff”.
He said that in order to successfully run this facility the Cyberknife Unit needs commitment for 1,000 sessions from individuals, philanthropists, corporate sector and NGOs so as to provide free cancer treatment to the patients.