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CyberKnife Center of Miami Patient Success Stories

As a result of the compassionate care we deliver, we develop lasting relationships with our patients. Many times we hear from our patients about how the doctors and staff at CyberKnife Miami have helped them. For those of you we hear from, we thank you for passing along your kind words. Here are some of our favorite quotes and stories of survival:

“I had lung cancer and was given 3 months to live. That was 5 years ago, and now my life expectancy is the same as any person without cancer.”

“My brain tumors dissolved while I got on with my normal routine of life, and if the tumor comes back, they zap it again and it disappears.”

“With traditional spinal surgery, they would have cut my back open to remove the tumor, which could have left me paralyzed. With the CyberKnife, they just zapped the tumor and 30 minutes later I went to lunch.”

Video Testimonials

Former Top Gun Fighter Pilot Choses CyberKnife for Prostate Cancer

CyberKnife Treatment vs Surgery for Prostate Cancer

Beating Bone Cancer that Spread to the Lung: José’s Story

Read José’s story


Beating Metastatic Ovarian Cancer: Leonor’s Story

Read Leonor’s story


Beating Colon Cancer that Spread to the Liver: Ricardo’s Story

Read Ric’s story


Written Testimonials

Angie's Story: Treating Spinal Tumors with CyberKnife

As a TV news anchor and reporter, 37-year-old Angie Perez is used to working long hours and hitting the red carpet in stilettos covering entertainment news, plus modeling.

"I'm not one to complain, but once in a while I’d get back pain that I blamed on high heels, being on my feet a lot and exercising too much but it would go away with over the counter pain meds.” 

“They told me there was no danger to the spine and that the spinal tumors weren’t doing immediate damage.”

Angie was prescribed physical therapy to strengthen her spine and pain medication.

"Nothing worked. Instead I got hives and swollen eyes. I couldn’t go on the air. It was affecting my career. The pain was so bad in my legs that natural childbirth was a walk in the park.”

Angie continued seeing doctors and was wrongly told by one that the spinal tumors were cancerous.

In the meantime, the numbness and weakness in Angie’s legs was getting worse. “I feared permanent nerve damage and ending up in a wheelchair if this went on much longer.”

Doctors finally did surgery placing three titanium rods in Angie’s back to stabilize her spine. She then received treatment with CyberKnife Radiation Therapy to one of the spinal tumors, which was getting bigger. The CyberKnife delivers a high dose of radiation with pinpoint accuracy to the tumor, causing it to shrink, while leaving surrounding tissue unharmed.

“The biggest mistake was not treating me right away. I walked around for six years with numb legs. Sometimes I couldn’t get out of bed and had to crawl to the bathroom.”

“Within 5-months after treatment I was back in 5-inch heels.”

However, a follow up visit discovered Angie’s other spinal tumor was growing dangerously bigger. Radiation Oncologist, Dr. Mark Pomper used CyberKnife again to treat it at the CyberKnife Center of Miami. Dr. Pomper says, “CyberKnife Radiation Therapy is a great option for spinal tumors because it’s non-invasive and, if possible you should always try non-invasive treatments first.” The CyberKnife’s radiation beams kill tumor cells making it less likely they’ll start growing again.

Angie had a very good response to CyberKnife also known as Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy or SBRT.

Dr. Pomper says, “Studies show CyberKnife is often quite successful in achieving complete pain relief. When I saw Angie last, she looked like a different person. She was back on her feet and not having much discomfort. We’re hoping not to see her again.”

Dr. Pomper says if a doctor recommends surgery or other types of radiation for a spinal tumor, get a second opinion because most people aren’t aware of CyberKnife’s capabilities, excellent results and how easy it is for the patient, requiring fewer treatments with no down time.

Angie's says, “When all hell was breaking loose, I thought this can’t kill me, my life isn’t complete yet. I just wanted to get on with my life and back to work full time.”

“Right now I’m feeling good. I’m walking around airports, carrying luggage and wearing stilletos again.” 

“I’m grateful and blessed to have become an American citizen and be treated in this country. If I’d still be in Venezuela, I don’t know where I’d be now.

Don's Story: Prostate Cancer "Why I Chose CyberKnife Over Surgery"

“I was numb for 24-hours after hearing cancer in the same sentence as my name.”

When 55-year-old Don Kearns landed in a urologists office with kidney stones the doctor also suggested a PSA test for prostate cancer since he’d never had one.

“I said no way. I have no symptoms and there’s no family history of prostate cancer.”

The doctor convinced Don and discovered his PSA level was high, recommended a biopsy which revealed prostate cancer.

“It hit me like a ton of bricks. I immediately started researching what that meant and thought, I’m a dead man. My brother had kidney cancer ten years ago. He’s okay but my father died of lung cancer at 55 and I was turning 55 so I was pretty nervous.”

Don started researching the best treatment options for prostate cancer and spoke to seven doctors.

“The majority recommended surgery. They said it was the best way to treat it at my young age. But I didn’t like the risk factors including damage to other organs, impotence and incontinence.”

All the surgeons assured Don those things wouldn’t happen but Don wasn’t convinced because he knew of men experiencing such side effects after prostate surgery.

Don was also frustrated with many of the doctors offices because they wouldn’t take his calls or call back when they said they would. One center scheduled surgery without his permission.

“I was having nightmares and in the back of my mind I kept thinking about CyberKnife. I’d heard about it, started researching, found The CyberKnife Center of Miami’s website and began reading. It explained exactly how CyberKnife works. I read all the studies, patient testimonials and watched the videos on the website. It was very helpful and seemed like a much better option.”

So Don called The CyberKnife Center of Miami.

“They talked me off the ledge and made me feel so comfortable.”

CyberKnife Miami recommended Don consult with board certified radiation oncologist, Dr. Mark Pomper to learn more about CyberKnife Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy, also known as SBRT and design his treatment plan.

“I showed Dr. Pomper a picture of my family and grandchildren and said, this is why I’m here. I want more time with them. Dr. Pomper laid out all the objective facts and was the most gracious doctor I talked to. I was convinced and moved forward with treatment at CyberKnife Miami and Dr. Pomper. For the first time I felt confident I was on the right track and slept well that night as did my family.

”Dr. Pomper says, “Don’s a good candidate for CyberKnife because his tumor was small and hadn't spread.” He adds, “There’s a general thought among surgeons that surgery is better for men under age 60 because radiation’s long term effects may cause problems years later, like impotence and incontinence, but that’s not what research is proving. Surgery has long term effects too. CyberKnife has fewer side effects if any. Its pinpoint radiation beams hit only the tumor, dissolving it, so we can give a much higher dose with a lot fewer treatments, leaving healthy surrounding tissue unharmed.”

CyberKnife, considered a standard radiation treatment option for prostate cancer requires only 5 treatments over two weeks instead of 45 or more over several months with other types of radiation.

Don says, “I asked one surgeon what about doing CyberKnife SBRT and the doctor said what’s SBRT and I walked out of his office.”

CyberKnife is the most effective form of SBRT known as Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy. While some doctors don’t know about it, most do but may not recommend it because their medical center doesn’t have the technology. Plus it’s less lucrative because it requires much fewer treatments.

Some urologists may have a conflict of interest because they have ownership in a conventional radiation therapy center making more money recommending 45 treatments instead of five.

Don was also told by surgeons there’s not enough research on CyberKnife even though it was FDA approved in 2001, has treated hundreds of thousands of patients world wide, is covered by insurance and has a 97-percent success rate for prostate cancer.

Dr. Pomper says, “There’s nearly 20 years of scientific research proving it’s safe and effective. I bring my patients to The CyberKnife Center of Miami because often it’s the best treatment option for them.”

CyberKnife Miami is open to all patients world wide and CyberKnife trained radiation oncologists.

Don says, “From a customer service stand point, CyberKnife Miami is superior. Every time they said they’d do something they did it. If they said they’d call, send an e-mail, set up an appointment they did it. They were on time and walked you thru every step. Their professionalism is impressive from the first call to the last follow up. What I never expected was their radiation therapist, Mario Tobon showing up for my MRI and CT Scan at imaging facilities not part of CyberKnife Miami. When you’re scared, don’t know what to expect and they come to hold your hand, it gives you and your family a lot of confidence and eases your fears. They treated me and the whole family compassionately and that meant the world to me.”

"The whole process was a piece of cake. I’d lay down on the CyberKnife table for each forty minute treatment, relax and listen to my special music play list. It’s fascinating how a machine which makes no noise is so powerful."

"My side effects were minimal. After my fifth and final treatment, I had a little fatigue and urinary urgency that lasted maybe a day. Nothing bad enough to stop me from working or doing any thing. We’d walk out of CyberKnife Miami and go to lunch while surgery patients I knew of were dealing with pain, bleeding and learning how to urinate again."

Dr. Pomper says, “Do yourself a favor, before you get any cancer treatment do your research, l learn all your options, get a second opinion from a radiation oncologist and ask about CyberKnife therapy.”Don agrees, “You’ve got to be your own patient advocate. The only person looking out for you, is you. The biggest take away from my experience is what goes on with American medicine today, it’s unreal.”

"Now I educate everyone I can about prostate cancer and CyberKnife. I’m amazed CyberKnife isn’t offered to everyone. After my first treatment I went to the gym and set my personal best bench press and endurance record and then hit the golf course."

“Cancer changes you. You look at sunsets differently and you don’t sweat the small stuff. I’m a fighter with a positive attitude. I’m fighting for my life and I’m going to win.”

Jeff's Story: Taming Trigeminal Neuralgia

You'd think being told that you've got a brain tumor and 6 months to live would be as tough as things could get...

That was 15 years ago, and it turned out to be the easy part for 54-year-old Jeff Rodriguez of Tamarac, Florida. Jeff survived the brain tumor, but surgery to remove it triggered a painful, facial nerve disorder called trigeminal neuralgia.

It’s caused by a non-specific triggering of the trigeminal nerve in the head, which can result in constant and/or repeated episodes of severe sudden burning or shock-like facial pain.

The intensity of pain can be physically and mentally incapacitating and last for days, weeks, months, or even years. The attacks often get worse over time, with fewer and shorter pain-free periods.

Jeff says, “The pain is excruciating, seven days a week, 24 hours a day. I had no relief, not for a moment. I couldn’t eat, sleep, drink, touch my face, or let my children touch my face.”

Trigeminal neuralgia is often called the suicide disease because many patients have taken their lives due to the extreme pain.

Jeff says, “The constant pain caused me to lose everything. My six-figure job, my wife, my children, my home. I couldn’t work. I had no physical or mental strength. I went to many doctors and they all told me there was nothing they could do except give me medication. They had me on so many drugs and pain killers that I was zoned out. I was told there’s no solution, there are no treatments available, just keep taking the drugs.”

Jeff and his current wife Sabine could not believe that and were not about to give up and accept it. They searched nationwide for a solution and finally found it with the help of South Florida neurosurgeon Dr. Jack Klem.

“By the time some patients arrive to a specialist, they are usually at their wits end and unaware of the complete spectrum of treatment options available. Trigeminal neuralgia is sometimes under treated with medications and patients may accept that nothing more can be done for them,” says Dr. Klem.

But patients do have other options besides medication, including brain surgery. However, it’s extremely invasive and comes with risks, including brain infection and months of recovery time.

Another treatment option, which is totally non-invasive, is CyberKnife radiosurgery therapy.

Dr. Klem says, “Advancements made in CyberKnife radiosurgery give patients suffering from this excruciating condition the ability to regain control of their lives and often make the pain go away.”

Dr. Klem referred Jeff to the CyberKnife Center of Miami which has extensive experience treating trigeminal neuralgia patients for nearly two decades.

Dr. Klem and a radiation oncologist at CyberKnife Miami meticulously mapped out Jeff's trigeminal nerve and other sensitive normal brain areas for treatment planning. A single treatment lasting about an hour with the CyberKnife radiosurgery is all it would take.

The CyberKnife system works by delivering high doses of multiple radiation beams to ablate or vaporize the trigeminal nerve with extreme precision and accuracy. Unlike Gamma Knife, CyberKnife radiosurgery treatments are pain free, do not require anesthesia or invasive skull frame placement and are performed on an outpatient basis.

Patients come in wearing their street clothes, lie down on the CyberKnife table, and listen to their favorite CD while treatment is administered. Immediately following therapy, they can return to normal activities.

Dr. James Schwade, CyberKnife Miami's executive director says, "Patients suffering from trigeminal neuralgia should always consider alternative options to surgery and pain medication, including non-invasive options like CyberKnife therapy."

Typically, patients need only one treatment. If the pain comes, a second CyberKnife re-treatment may be considered.

CyberKnife has a success rate of 75-to-85 percent with less than a 1-percent chance of side effects, which can include temporary or permanent facial numbness or paralysis.

Dr. Schwade says, "Many people still don't know about CyberKnife Radiation Therapy for trigeminal neuralgia and we're trying to get the word out to the public about this non-invasive treatment so they know to ask their physicians about it."

Jeff says the most frustrating part about all of this was being told by doctor after doctor that the only treatment available is medication, and yet CyberKnife has been around for more than 15 years. Jeff had immediate pain relief with just one CyberKnife session.

“Eighty minutes into the treatment, I had them stop because I no longer felt pain. I thought something was wrong because I didn’t know what that felt like any more.”

CyberKnife Center of Miami

“I can do anything now. The day my son touched my face for the first time was the most amazing day in my life because he never could do it before.”

“When I first heard about CyberKnife I was a little skeptical because it sounded too easy, but when I got up from that table, I was crying, I was so happy. It’s a miracle. My heart wants to explode with joy. People used to say, you don’t smile, but boy do I smile now.”

Shaun’s Story: Acoustic Neuroma

CyberKnife Center of Miami

“CyberKnife gave me the chance to carry on with my life and not miss even one of my kids’ games.”

Getting hit in the head with a baseball isn’t usually considered a good thing, however in Shaun Marquez’s case, it may have saved his life.

“I’m a soccer and little league coach for my kids. I was behind home plate when one of the kids on the team swung his bat and the baseball flew backwards hitting my face.”

That blow set off a constant ringing in Shaun’s ear and sent him to an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist, Dr. Bradford Ress.

“We conducted tests to see what was causing the non-stop ringing, including an MRI, and discovered that Shaun had a slow growing, non-cancerous brain tumor known as an acoustic neuroma. It was located near Shaun’s brainstem and could be dangerous if left untreated.”

The 44-year-old North Miami Beach resident was stunned because he had absolutely no symptoms.

“When you get a diagnosis like that, it's life changing. I was numb and didn’t know what was going to happen. I sat in my car trying to process it all before I could call my wife Cruz to tell her and my four kids. Cruz was a great, positive support and kept reassuring me everything was going to be alright.”

Dr. Ress advised Shaun of his treatment options.

Surgery to remove the tumor or CyberKnife radiosurgery, a non-invasive treatment, which delivers the highest dose possible of pinpoint radiation, destroying the tumor and leaving surrounding healthy tissue unharmed.

Shaun says, "To me, it was a no brainer. There were too many risks with surgery. All my motor skills could have been affected, the risk of general anesthesia and brain infection. Recovery was a long process with a hospital stay and weeks away from work. CyberKnife was non-invasive. You go in, lie down on the table, listen to music, and the machine does all of the work, moving quietly all around you. Plus it’s less expensive.”

CyberKnife radiosurgery has been used for more than two decades with extremely high rates of tumor control. Dr. Ress says, “CyberKnife is great for treating acoustic neuromas and most patients are good candidates for it.”

Shaun went to the CyberKnife Center of Miami for treatment. All it took was one 45-minute session done on an outpatient basis. A team of doctors worked out his specific treatment plan, including Dr. Ress and radiation oncologist David Huang, MD, PhD.

He had the treatment on a Wednesday morning, coached a little league game that evening, and was back at work Monday.

Dr. Ress says, “For people who can’t take time off work, this is a great option. All our patients have done really well with CyberKnife therapy.”

Shaun says, “If I had chosen to have surgery, I would have had to quit coaching for a while or maybe never again. With CyberKnife, I had no side effects and even drove home after the treatment. My wife wanted to drive and I said ‘No, I feel good.’”

“They take such good care of you at CyberKnife Miami. I wasn’t scared, they were very comforting and explained everything. I also went to their website and watched their video on how CyberKnife works.”

Two years after Shaun’s CyberKnife treatment, his brain tumor is smaller. If it starts growing again CyberKnife therapy can be repeated.

“It’s eye opening when you’re told you have a brain tumor. You think of all the things you might miss. I don’t take anything for granted anymore.”

“CyberKnife made everything so much easier. It eliminates all the stress and risks that could go wrong with surgery. If at all possible, why would anyone choose any other option?”

“CyberKnife gave me the chance to carry on with my life and not miss even one of my kids’ games. I’ve just got to watch out for flying baseballs – or not.” (Laughs)

CyberKnife Center of Miami

Sunita's Story: Ovarian Cancer

CyberKnife Center of Miami

“I have four kids and I was able to go to my daughter’s college graduation, my older son’s wedding, and see my granddaughter being born.”

When 47-year-old Sunita Chinapana started feeling bloated she passed it off as just getting older. “I had pain on both sides of my body and I actually looked pregnant, but I thought ‘I’m just going through the change of life,’ so I didn’t think much of it. Then I noticed problems lifting my leg.”

A series of medical tests revealed Sunita had ovarian cancer that had spread to her diaphragm and behind her liver. She underwent surgery, removing two tumors that together weighed almost 11 pounds, followed by chemotherapy.

Turns out, Sunita was allergic to chemo drugs, which caused so much pain she couldn’t walk. Her doctor recommended going to Boston and enrolling in a clinical trial using an experimental cancer drug designed to prevent and destroy tumors.

In the meantime, a friend of Sunita’s saw a medical story on a Miami TV news station about the CyberKnife Center of Miami and how the cancer experts there greatly helped another ovarian cancer patient whose tumors had spread.

CyberKnife Center of Miami

The CyberKnife is robotic radiation technology. The device delivers high doses of radiation with pinpoint accuracy directly to the tumor leaving surrounding tissue unharmed. The tumors are zapped and shrivel up while you get on with life.

“My friend insisted I go to the CyberKnife Center of Miami, so I did."

Dr. James Schwade, CyberKnife Miami's Executive Director says, “The CyberKnife is not a knife at all. It's a powerful radiation beam that targets and destroys tumors. They gradually dissolve over time. There is no cutting and if tumors come back usually we can treat them again."

A radiation oncologist at CyberKnife Miami treated three out of seven of Sunita’s tumors.

Sunita says, “I was very confused. I didn’t know what to do so I went back to three of my doctors for a second opinion and they all said CyberKnife would not work for me. Desperate to try anything, I went to Boston for treatment.”

Turns out the experimental drug didn’t work so Sunita quickly went back to the CyberKnife Center of Miami.

Her three tumors that were treated before with CyberKnife therapy were gone. Four others that had developed were then treated and 5 weeks later, they were gone too.

CyberKnife Center of Miami

Sunita says, “If I had listened to my original doctors and not gone back to CyberKnife Miami, I don't think I’d be alive today. I am so excited about my success story that I want to tell the world about CyberKnife technology because I don’t think many doctors and patients are informed about it. My family also jumped on the band wagon, telling everyone we know about The CyberKnife Center of Miami.”

Dr. Schwade says, “CyberKnife radiosurgery is extremely well tolerated and doesn't have the toxicity of chemotherapy. It's another tool that is helping us control cancer much like you would diabetes or other chronic diseases. We can help people live longer and yet maintain a good quality of life."

Sunita says, “I was so comfortable I’d fall asleep during my treatment. They had to wake me up and say it's time to go home. I had no pain, no side effects, nothing.”

“The whole CyberKnife Miami experience is awesome. From the time you check in, to meeting with the doctors, helping you with your insurance, it’s a walk in the park.”

“I have four kids and I was able to go to my daughter’s college graduation, my older son’s wedding, and see my granddaughter being born. Thanks to the CyberKnife Center of Miami, I look forward to more major milestones in my life.”

Hildegard's Story: Surviving Lung Cancer Thanks to CyberKnife Miami

CyberKnife Center of Miami

“I am so grateful. Being sent to CyberKnife Miami was the best thing that happened. Without CyberKnife, my wife wouldn’t be with me right now.”

Hildegard Ireland was busy helping run her family’s Florida resort back in 2008 when, during a routine check-up, her doctor discovered polyps in her throat. Because she was a smoker, Hildegard’s doctor sent her for a CT scan, which revealed a lung tumor.

“I was in absolute shock when the results came back. I had no symptoms. I quit smoking that day.”

Because of Hildegard’s long smoking history, weight, age, and possibly suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), she wasn’t a candidate for surgery. Instead her doctor recommended radiation therapy using CyberKnife technology at the CyberKnife Center of Miami.

CyberKnife therapy, also known as Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT) allows radiation oncologists to treat most small lung cancers and lung cancers that have spread from all other forms of cancer, including liver or breast cancers for example.

Hildegard says, “It was very scary at first, but at the CyberKnife Center of Miami they explained everything so well and it was easy. I just went there and laid down on the table and didn’t feel a thing during treatment. Each session took about an hour.”

Dr. James Schwade, CyberKnife Miami's Executive Director says, “CyberKnife therapy allows us to deliver the highest dose of radiation possible to a lung tumor or any kind of tumor without damaging surrounding tissue. Before CyberKnife technology we couldn't treat lung cancer. We can now because this technology can track the tumor as a patient breathes normally. That means the radiation beam only hits the tumor, so healthy tissue is untouched."

Soon after treatment, Hildegard’s tumor disappeared completely. She thought she was in the clear, but in 2010 another tumor appeared, this one involving a rib.

“Again, I had no symptoms. The tumor was detected during one of my regular follow-up screenings.”

This time, Hildegard underwent chemotherapy and again CyberKnife radiosurgery. It was successful.

When another tumor showed up in 2011, this time in her chest wall, CyberKnife Miami treated it again.

“I’ve always had a very positive attitude, and I think that’s important. Every time the cancer came back, I was confidant CyberKnife would take care of it, I would get through it, and I did.”

Once again, Hildegard’s tumor disappeared following CyberKnife therapy. Once again, another one showed up in a lung in 2014.

“I've been treated four times with CyberKnife over the last eight years, and my last scan was clear. I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for CyberKnife. I’m living proof that you can live and survive with lung cancer.”

Hildegard’s husband Harold says, “I am so grateful. Being sent to CyberKnife Miami was the best thing that happened. They’re right on top of it. If a tumor shows up, they take care of it. Without CyberKnife, my wife wouldn’t be with me right now.”

At 81-years-young, Hildegard is retired and looking forward to traveling the US with her husband of 35 years.

She says, “We had never heard of CyberKnife but we learned all about it and now we tell everyone we can about it. We are big CyberKnife Miami advocates.”

Breakthrough treatments like CyberKnife Radiation Therapy and early detection are among the reasons many more people today are surviving lung cancer.


Talk to one of our cancer experts to find out if CyberKnife Miami can help you or a loved one – (800) 204-0455.

Laurie's Story: Managing Cancer Like a Chronic Disease

“I have been cancer-free for over two years now without chemo or any other treatments.”

Since being diagnosed with breast cancer 16 years ago, Laurie has endured a mastectomy, brain surgery, spine surgery, chemotherapy, standard radiation treatment and finally, CyberKnife radiation therapy.

All of this occurred because her breast cancer metastasized to several parts of her body, over and over again.

“I believe with all my heart that CyberKnife saved my life, because tumors can be treated repeatedly if they come back, so basically they’re managing my cancer like a chronic disease. If another tumor pops up, they can treat it with CyberKnife and chances are good that it will go away.”

When Laurie was treated for breast cancer with a mastectomy and chemotherapy in 1994, she thought her cancer was gone and that she had nothing to worry about. That’s why when she suddenly started having severe headaches in 2008, she didn’t think much of it. “I’m a nurse and I know people get headaches for many reasons. It doesn’t necessarily mean it’s anything serious.”

Several months later, Laurie bent over and got very dizzy. “It felt like something was shaking in the back of my head so I went to my doctor and he immediately sent me for a CAT Scan.” Test results showed Laurie had a brain tumor, which had metastasized from the breast cancer.

“Breast cancer runs in my family. That’s why I try to be diligent and get mammograms every year, but I unfortunately missed one year and the next year they found the tumor. I was shocked, yet I shouldn’t have been, considering my family history. If I hadn’t missed my yearly mammogram, perhaps the cancer might have been caught earlier and wouldn’t have spread to my brain.”

Fortunately, the brain tumor was surgically removed and treated with standard radiation; however her neurosurgeon later on felt Laurie needed additional treatments so he also recommended CyberKnife Robotic Radiosurgery Therapy at the CyberKnife Center of Miami.

Dr. James Schwade, CyberKnife Miami's Executive Director says, “CyberKnife Therapy was not only the perfect choice for Laurie. It was her only choice. She was not a candidate for more standard radiation treatments because it could have detrimentally effected her healthy brain tissue. But the CyberKnife beam and its pinpoint precision, only hits the tumor so the surrounding tissue is unharmed."

CyberKnife is the gold standard in stereotactic radiosurgery for treating tumors almost anywhere in the body.

It can often be used after conventional radiation with few if any side effects. Plus, if a tumor comes back we can usually retreat it with CyberKnife therapy.

Several months after her brain tumor was treated, more tumors showed up in her spine, liver, and lymph nodes. Each time tumors returned they were treated again with the CyberKnife.

Dr. Schwade says, "We can not only treat recurring tumors, patients can maintain their quality of life while undergoing treatment. Cancer doesn't have to be a death sentence any more. We can extend patients lives with breakthrough therapies like CyberKnife and that's what we're trying to educate the public about. "

Laurie is living proof that with CyberKnife therapy, cancer can be managed like a chronic disease.

Laurie says, “I promote CyberKnife wherever I go. I tell every doctor about it and every person I know or meet. CyberKnife seems to have cured the tumors in my brain, liver, and spine. I have been cancer-free for over two years now without chemo or any other treatments.”

Joe's Story: Comparing CyberKnife to Standard Radiation for Prostate Cancer

CyberKnife Center of Miami

“Treatment with CyberKnife is like a day at the beach. Standard radiation for my throat was torture.”

When Joe Aviles was diagnosed with prostate cancer during his annual physical, it came as quite a shock. “I said ‘Wow.’ I had prostate cancer, and I didn’t have any symptoms, nothing, no problems.” 

Joe admits he was scared about treatment. “When I talked to other guys I heard horror stories. Doctors took out their prostate or they had too much radiation and now they can’t hold their urine or get erections.”

Joe’s doctor told him all of his options: he could do watchful waiting, surgery to remove the prostate, standard radiation treatments, or have CyberKnife radiosurgery therapy.

“There was no way I was going to have my prostate taken out and with standard radiation, treatment would take over two months, but then my doctor told me about the CyberKnife and that seemed like a better way to go. There was no cutting, no surgery, and treatment was finished in two weeks.”

Joe went to the CyberKnife Center of Miami and met with a radiation oncologist, "He treated it like it was no big deal. He assured me this was a good way to go. He said, "Don’t worry, you’re a young man, and you’ll live to be an old man."

Joe was a good candidate for this non-invasive treatment because the tumor was small and contained in the prostate.

Dr. James Schwade, CyberKnife Miami's Executive Director says, “There is a lot of solid research proving that CyberKnife Radiation Therapy is as effective as standard radiation treatments with fewer if any side effects and CyberKnife can be done in 5 treatments over a 10 day period compared to 42 treatments over several months.

Because the CyberKnife’s radiation beam is so precise, it’s much less likely to damage surrounding healthy tissue, therefore resulting in fewer side effects.

Joe says, “I can’t believe what some of my friends with prostate cancer went through, and they didn’t have to. The saddest part is their doctors didn’t tell them about CyberKnife. After talking to the cancer experts at CyberKnife Miami and learning about the CyberKnife, I knew I made the right decision. I can’t believe anyone would choose anything else. It was so easy. I didn’t feel a thing during or after treatment. Most times, I just laid there, closed my eyes, and listened to the music.”

CyberKnife Center of Miami

Joe had 5 CyberKnife treatments over 10 days. "It’s been 6 years since my treatments. I’m cancer free and have no complaints. I wish more men knew about CyberKnife. Don’t just do what your doctor tells you, do your homework, learn all your treatment options."

Joe has also has been treated for throat cancer, which required chemotherapy and standard radiation. Because it had spread, CyberKnife was not an option, but he wishes it would have been. Here’s how Joe compares the two. 

“Treatment with CyberKnife is like a day at the beach. Standard radiation for my throat was torture.”

Joe and his wife Luz go to cancer fundraisers all the time. He says, “It gives me the opportunity to educate people about CyberKnife. If I had to do it over again I’d go to CyberKnife Miami and my friends would too.”

Earl's Story: Beating Kidney Cancer with CyberKnife - Saving Both Kidneys

CyberKnife Center of Miami

“The treatment was such a simple thing. I had absolutely no side effects and I don’t feel any different today than I did before kidney cancer.”

When Earl Moncada was diagnosed with bilateral kidney tumors and cancer in his right kidney in 2005, he knew exactly where to go.

“As luck would have it I had just seen a story on TV about CyberKnife, a new treatment for tumors.”

Earl’s diagnosis came a short time after the CyberKnife Center of Miami opened its doors and he saw it on the news.

“Thank goodness I saw the news, because my doctors wanted to remove one of my kidneys, but when I heard that, I went to CyberKnife Miami and they said, why would you remove it when we can try to treat the tumor with CyberKnife?"

CyberKnife radiosurgery is a non-invasive alternative to surgery for treating cancerous and non-cancerous tumors anywhere in the body. It delivers high doses of pinpoint radiation directly to the tumor with extreme accuracy and minimal exposure to surrounding healthy tissue. It kills tumor cells and over time the tumor dies. Because it delivers the highest dose of radiation possible, patients need fewer treatments and the control rate is high.

A radiation oncologist at the CyberKnife Center of Miami who treated Earl, says, “Removing a kidney completely or partially is standard treatment for this type of cancer, but often it’s not necessary. In this case with bilateral kidney tumors CyberKnife was the best option for Earl. You can treat the kidney in a shorter period of time and get rid of the tumor without significantly effecting kidney function.”

Earl knows he’s lucky in more ways than one. The tumor in his right kidney disappeared, but six years later another tumor developed in his left kidney.

Earl says, “Imagine if I would have listened to those doctors and had my right kidney removed? I would have had only one kidney and then what would they do? Either I would have been on the list for an organ transplant or maybe even be dead!”

Both of Earl’s kidney tumors were treated with CyberKnife. His last treatment to the left kidney was in 2011 and both kidneys are functioning completely normal. He had zero complications, like he never had bilateral renal cell cancer.

Earl says, “The treatment was such a simple thing. I had absolutely no side effects and I don’t feel any different today than I did before kidney cancer. Why wouldn’t people choose CyberKnife over being cut into?”

Dr. James Schwade, CyberKnife Miami's Executive Director says, "Another good thing about CyberKnife is if the tumor comes back we can often treat it again."

Earl's cancer was controlled and his organs were spared.

“CyberKnife Miami saved my kidneys and my life. If I had listened to my other doctors, I probably wouldn't be around today,” says Earl.

Earl can’t brag enough about the CyberKnife Center of Miami, “The staff is so nice. It’s scary at first but they explain everything so well, and make you feel completely relaxed. Any chance I get, I tell people about it and they listen.”

Today Earl, a retired airplane instrument repairman, spends as much time with his five grandkids as possible.

“I hope it's all behind me. The doctors tell me that I’m cured of kidney cancer. I’m so grateful that I went to the CyberKnife Center of Miami and am very lucky I saw that story on TV about the treatment because my doctors sure didn’t tell me about it.”

Mike's Story: Prostate Cancer

CyberKnife Center of Miami

"After CyberKnife treatments, it's like I never had prostate cancer!"

As an airline executive, Mike Cibula frequently traveled the world, but that did not stop him from getting his prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels tested every year, since age 40. Mike was diligent about it because his dad had prostate cancer.

 Mike had a clean bill of health until recently. At the age of 66, Mike’s PSA results came back higher than    normal. He was diagnosed with early stage prostate cancer and had a Gleason score of 7.

His urologist recommended surgery or “watchful waiting” but the Miami Shores, FL resident wasn’t interested in either option so he called a trusted friend who has a lot of medical knowledge.

Mike says, “She suggested I go to the CyberKnife Center of Miami. She worked for a surgeon that often took his patients to CyberKnife Miami to treat all kinds of tumors, both cancerous and non-cancerous.”

Mike had never heard of CyberKnife, but called CyberKnife Miami to check it out. They sent him information about CyberKnife radiosurgery for prostate cancer. After studying it, meeting the staff, and speaking with other patients, he was convinced and chose CyberKnife radiosurgery treatment.

CyberKnife isn’t a knife at all. There is no cutting or anesthesia. It uses pinpoint targeted radiation with missile guidance technology to target and treat tumors. 

Dr. Silvio Garcia, the board-certified radiation oncologist who treated Mike at the CyberKnife Center of Miami, says, “Mike was a good candidate for CyberKnife because his tumor wasn't large and it hadn't spread.”

Mike says, “It was five easy treatments, about 20 minutes each over 10 days, and I had absolutely no side effects, it didn’t slow me down at all, and I haven’t had a problem since. I don't feel any different today than before I knew I had prostate cancer.”
 
Dr. Garcia says, “We're seeing very positive results with CyberKnife treatment for prostate cancer. More than 90 percent of patients five years post treatment continue to maintain low PSA levels.”

Surgery for prostate cancer carries an increased risk of incontinence, impotence, and infection. In addition, standard radiation requires 40+ treatments over two to three months compared to CyberKnife’s five treatments over 10 days.

A recent study found more than half of prostate patients who choose “watchful waiting” discovered their cancer was much more aggressive than previously thought. Dr. Garcia says he’s very cautious about watchful waiting. “I believe that being proactive and taking immediate action is best.”

Mike agrees, “Why take the risk of being cut open or waiting if you can have it taken care of quickly, efficiently, and effectively with CyberKnife?” 

Dr. Garcia says, “Years of mounting research is proving CyberKnife to be the gold standard for treating prostate cancer, and as more men learn about CyberKnife it will become the number one treatment of choice.”

Today, retired from his job at the airlines, Mike continues traveling the world. He remains cancer free and tells anyone who’ll listen about CyberKnife Center of Miami.

“They made me feel so comfortable and are so nice. I can't say enough great things about them. All of the doctors work together as a team. They were all there for my first treatment and they continue to call to see how I’m doing. Their compassion is just incredible. I asked them to send me a stack of brochures and I pass them out to everyone to help spread the word about this amazing technology. I am forever grateful to have learned about CyberKnife and in particular the CyberKnife Center of Miami.”

Ruby’s Story: Living Life to the Fullest while Battling Breast Cancer that Keeps Spreading

CyberKnife Center of Miami

“I’ve had stage 4 cancer for years. What amazes me is how good I feel; I don’t feel like I’m going to die.”

Ruby Alexander’s fight with breast cancer began 16 years ago and she’s still going strong!

“When I was first diagnosed, I cried for days.” Because the cancer was caught very early, Ruby was told all she needed was a mastectomy. No chemotherapy or radiation necessary. “So after the mastectomy, I was sure I wouldn’t have any more cancer.”

Five years later, on September 11, 2001 it was back. “I remember that day so well. We heard two planes crashed into the World Trade Center while I was getting follow-up tests, and they found a tumor on my sternum.” It was treated successfully, but a few years later it showed up in her liver and then her lungs. “I was so scared and feeling very sorry for myself but remained optimistic.”

Chemotherapy and standard radiation worked. “No matter how many times it came back I didn’t let it get me down or give up hope.”

Unfortunately it reappeared in her lymph nodes. Ruby’s doctor said the cancer was very slow growing and there was nothing to do except come back in three months for another checkup.

Not liking what she heard, Ruby talked to her neighbor, a doctor who reads CT scans, and he recommended she immediately go to the CyberKnife Center of Miami for treatment. “We never heard of CyberKnife so I looked it up online and found their website and called. They gave me an appointment right away. As soon as they saw my X-rays they said, ‘We can help you.’ We couldn’t believe no doctor had mentioned it to us before.

Dr. James Schwade, Executive Director of the CyberKnife Center of Miami says, “The CyberKnife is often excellent for treating lymph nodes because it tightly targets the area, can be done in very few treatments, doesn’t affect the surrounding tissue, and prevents cancer from spreading in that area.”

CyberKnife delivers a very high dose of radiation directly to tumors, killing them, and prevents them from coming back.

Dr. Schwade says, “Waiting to treat cancerous lymph nodes could result in the disease spreading to other areas faster, creating more problems.”

Unfortunately, many patients still don’t know about CyberKnife technology and if doctors don’t have it at their hospital, they often won’t recommend it.

Ruby’s advice to anyone battling cancer is, “In the beginning, you think your doctors know everything and recommend the best treatment, then you find out they don’t. I don’t know what would’ve happened if I’d waited. You must be your own patient advocate, ask questions, talk to others, and keep researching treatment options.”

Dr. Schwade says, “It’s on a case-by-case basis, but in Ruby’s situation CyberKnife is very useful and can keep patients functional.”

If the cancer shows up in another lymph node, it can be treated again.

Ruby says, “I’ve had stage 4 cancer for years. What amazes me is how good I feel; I don’t feel like I’m going to die.”

Ruby walks four miles a day, travels often to see her grandchild, and is living life to the fullest. 

John's Story: Beating Prostate Cancer

“After learning about the CyberKnife I felt very confident about my decision. I can’t believe anyone would choose any other type of radiation treatment.”

John Crowley, who was treated with CyberKnife in 2011, says, “When I heard what other men were going through with standard radiation treatments, I chose CyberKnife.” While many patients in early stage prostate cancer like John are told they can watch and wait, John says, “Two of my friends died of prostate cancer, and I didn’t want it in my body no matter how small it was.”

John’s wife and daughter discovered CyberKnife radiotherapy while researching cancer treatment options for prostate cancer on the internet. John says, “I was shocked, surprised, and disappointed my doctor never told me CyberKnife was an option for me.”

Dr. James Schwade, Executive Director at the CyberKnife Center of Miami says, “If you’re a candidate looking for a nonsurgical option, CyberKnife is a great alternative. It delivers high doses of radiation directly to the tumor while sparing normal tissues like the bladder and rectum. It’s less invasive and much more precise.” 

In its updated policy, the American Society for Radiation Oncology states that many published clinical studies support the effectiveness and safety of CyberKnife treatment for prostate cancer. Studies show excellent five-year biochemical control rates with very low rates of serious toxicity. 

The most recent study, with a six-year follow up, proves CyberKnife radiosurgery kills cancer faster, with less radiation, and fewer side effects than conventional radiation or surgery. The research also backs up CyberKnife’s nearly 100 percent success rate. 

Dr. Schwade says, “The type of radiation treatment can make a big difference in outcomes, side effects, and convenience for patients. Standard treatment for prostate cancer requires about 40 to 45 radiation treatments over 2 to 2½ months, while CyberKnife treatment can be done in five treatments over an 8 to 10 day period.”

John says, “After learning about the CyberKnife I felt very confident about my decision. I can’t believe anyone would choose any other type of radiation treatment.”

Patients usually return to their normal routines immediately following treatment and experience few to no side effects. John says, “I still can’t believe how easy it was. Once I nearly fell asleep listening to music during the one-hour treatments. I had just minor side effects that went away within a few months. It was fantastic. That was two years ago, and today I’m cancer free.”  

The American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO)<already linked> is endorsing CyberKnife robotic radiation therapy as a primary treatment option for prostate cancer. The CyberKnife Center of Miami has treated more than 200 patients for the disease since opening its doors in 2003.

Ric’s Story: Surviving Colorectal Cancer and Liver Metastasis

CyberKnife Center of Miami

CyberKnife Gives Hope To More Cancer Patients: “A Life-Saving Treatment Grossly Underused!”

“CyberKnife was my only hope for a possible cure and it actually went better than I expected.”

Ricardo Suarez was enjoying every minute of life traveling the world as a fine arts dealer when it suddenly came to a screeching halt.

“I was having a ball, and then for no apparent reason I began having indigestion and losing weight. I thought it was just part of getting older.”

Turns out it was colo-rectal cancer that spread to his lymph nodes.

“It was a very serious case. I was 52, and the outlook was grim.”

Ric underwent chemotherapy, conventional radiation and surgery, which were successful but then the cancer spread to his liver.

“I had 10 lesions on my liver, big and small. I felt hopeless. My priest helped me through the journey of acceptance. I felt at peace.”

Ric was given six months to live, but a friend insisted he consult with the cancer experts at the CyberKnife Center of Miami.

Dr. James Schwade, CyberKnife Miami's Executive Director says, "After careful evaluation it was confirmed CyberKnife radiosurgery was a good option for Ric. CyberKnife is excellent for liver tumors. Before this breakthrough technology we couldn't do what we do now when treating liver tumors."

The CyberKnife is not a knife at all but the gold standard in radiosurgery for treating tumors any where in the body.

The robotic device delivers a very high dose of radiation directly to tumors so they shrivel up and die without damaging the liver and leaving healthy tissue unharmed.

Dr. Schwade says, "More than a decade of research proves that CyberKnife therapy has a high success rate. We just need to educate doctors and the public about it and we're getting that done. Cancer patients are starting to ask their doctors about CyberKnife and if it's an option for them."

Ric says, “CyberKnife was my only hope for a possible cure and it actually went better than I expected.”

Treatment is done on an outpatient basis. Initially, Ric felt sluggish after treatments but within weeks he began gaining strength and feeling better.

“For the first time, I dared to hope. I thought, maybe I can beat it.”

Ric feels it’s given him a second chance at life.

“It’s terrible more people don’t know about CyberKnife. We should be yelling it off rooftops. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for CyberKnife.”

He’s living proof that CyberKnife is a successful tool for treating  tumors, cancerous, and non-cancerous.

José’s Story: Bone Cancer that Spread to the Lungs

CyberKnife Center of Miami

“Cancer tried to interrupt my life, but I didn’t let it. I kept a positive attitude. I went to school every day. I graduated and got into the University of Virginia on a full scholarship.”

José Barcardi was filled with excitement anticipating his future and dream of becoming an aerospace engineer.

While finishing his junior year in high school, applying to universities and for college scholarships, he suddenly started feeling pain in his right leg that wouldn’t go away.

José says, “It’s a scary feeling when you have random pain in your body and don’t know what it is. When you’re 17, the last thing you think of is cancer.”

At first, doctors thought it was scoliosis or growing pains. They prescribed anti-pain medication but the pain persisted. José’s parents insisted the doctors do more tests. An MRI revealed stunning, unexpected news. Bone cancer, resulting in a tumor on his pelvis, known as osteosarcoma.

José says, “It was a shock. I thought wow cancer. This is terrible. I could die. This is horrendous."

Osteosarcoma is the most common type of cancer in children. It usually develops in teenagers around age 15 when they’re growing rapidly. Boys and girls are just as likely to get it. While the cause is unknown, in some cases osteosarcoma runs in families.

The good news – it’s often treatable.

“My doctor said I have an 80 percent chance to live, so I thought okay, let’s get going,” said José.

Treatment usually involves chemotherapy to shrink the tumor, radiation to kill it, and/or surgery to remove it.

In José's case, surgery wasn’t an option. Unfortunately, the tumor was on both sides of his pelvis, which would require removing his entire pelvis and muscle around it. The treatment regimen they chose was chemo to shrink the tumor and radiation to kill it.

The treatment worked, but unfortunately tumor cells spread to one lung.

This time doctors recommended surgery to remove the lung.

Not willing to accept the news and feeling José was too young to have a lung removed, his parents began researching other treatment options on the internet.

José's father, Eriel Cabrera, says, “We wanted to see what other treatment options might be available to us when we came across CyberKnife technology at the CyberKnife Center of Miami, so we asked José’s oncologist if it could benefit him.”

The CyberKnife is robotic radiation technology used to destroy tumors. It is a non-invasive treatment that delivers high doses of radiation with pinpoint accuracy directly to the tumor.

José's doctor, a radiation oncologist told him,“CyberKnife is extremely effective for lung tumors. It’s well tolerated. It does what surgeons do without a knife.”

The CyberKnife robot can follow tumor motion during normal breathing cycles, which makes it perfect for lung tumors.

Dr. James Schwade, CyberKnife Miami's Executivel Director says, "CyberKnife's missile guided technology is what makes it great for treating lung tumors. We couldn't treat them before CyberKnife. It has revolutionized cancer treatment in many ways. The tumors are treated, they dissolve while patients get on with life without affecting the quality of their lives."

José says, “After CyberKnife treatments I didn’t feel any side effects. I drove myself home, played video games and took walks with mom.”

If a tumor comes back they zap it again. Patients can be treated over and over again.

José’s dad has nothing but praise for the CyberKnife Center of Miami, “The doctors are very good at explaining everything about the procedure and what to expect. The center is a very friendly, comfortable environment and they are so knowledgeable. If you have cancer look for this technology. It’s available and can change your life.”

Today José feels like a winner in all aspects of life.

“Cancer tried to interrupt my life, but I didn’t let it. I kept a positive attitude. I went to school every day. I graduated and got into the University of Virginia on a full scholarship.”

PET scans show José’s lung and bone tumors are gone.

“At first I thought my dreams may not come true but then I thought, no, I will realize my dreams. I will!”

José’s dad says, “He’s a brave, determined young man. We’re so proud of him and the way he handled this. He is going to fulfill his dreams.”

Mark's Story: Treating Acoustic Neuromas with CyberKnife

CyberKnife Center of Miami

“I never saw an operating room and my quality of life was unchanged. I couldn't be happier with how things have worked out.”

Mark’s journey with his acoustic neuroma started years before he knew it. 

In 1991 he remembers sitting in his living room listening to music through headphones and thinking that the right speaker didn't sound right. He assumed that the stereo was broken and he’d just have to replace it someday.

Several months later, Mark woke up to birds chirping outside his window. When he rolled over onto his left side, he noticed the chirping went away, and that it came back when his left ear was uncovered. This was the first moment that Mark realized something was wrong.

Three years later in 1994, Mark’s hearing hadn’t improved and now there was a "plugged up" feeling. He complained about it during a physical exam, so his doctor scheduled an audiogram – his first since grade school. 

The audiogram confirmed that he had some unilateral high frequency hearing loss in his right ear. When he looked for reasons, Mark received a variety of answers ranging from too much rock music, a firecracker when he was young, or "just one of those things." 

Mark still wondered about the "plugged" feeling. Could something in his head be causing it? Mark was told that it was probably just a sensation relative to his hearing loss. He wasn't comfortable with those answers and blamed the issues on a plane flight he had taken while sick a few years back.

Seven years later in 2001, during a routine check-up, Mark mentioned it felt like his hearing had dropped again, so his doctor scheduled another audiogram. 

The test confirmed that his right ear had deteriorated in the high frequency range. This time, however, the audiologist scheduled an appointment with an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist who conducted several tests and scheduled an MRI. 

Two weeks after his MRI, Mark met with the ENT and learned that he had an acoustic neuroma.

”I reacted like anyone would faced with such news: fear, panic, ‘why me’ thoughts raced through my head all at once,” said Mark. “My wife, Nancy, was a great support and she immediately helped me search the Internet in an effort to better understand this diagnosis. We found a lot of helpful web sites and slowly began to get a handle on what my diagnosis involved and what the options were for treating it.”

Mark consulted neurosurgeons at two different facilities who suggested various surgical approaches with differing results and potential side effects including facial nerve damage and permanency of his hearing loss. 

Mark determined that he wasn't comfortable with their approaches or the risk levels associated with the surgeries, so he decided to seek out another opinion. He went to Stanford where he had a consultation with Lawrence Shuer, MD, professor of neurosurgery and chief of staff for Stanford Hospital and Clinics.

This is where his acoustic neuroma journey took a major turn. Dr. Shuer listened to his overview of previous consults and asked why Mark was not considering treatment with the CyberKnife® Robotic Radiosurgery System. Mark shared what he had heard about the risks. 

Dr. Shuer was able to clarify some of the misinformation and brought in Steven Chang, MD, neurosurgeon and director of the CyberKnife Radiosurgery program at Stanford Hospital and Clinics. They pointed out that radiosurgery had been used for more than 30 years with extremely high rates of tumor control.

This new information gave Mark a lot more to think about, but his final decision was made easier knowing that both Dr. Shuer and Dr. Chang recommended CyberKnife radiosurgery, in light of their ability to do surgery. Dr. Chang also put him in touch with several patients who had been treated with the CyberKnife System previously to hear about their experience.

Mark decided to undergo CyberKnife radiosurgery for his acoustic neuroma. The treatment itself was done on an outpatient basis over the course of three consecutive days before Thanksgiving in 2001. 

Each day, he would lie on the treatment table and listened to the CyberKnife system move quietly around him. While he took the week off from work and took it easy those three days of treatment, the rest of his life was uninterrupted. 

Mark went back to work the next week and resumed his workout schedule the day after treatment.

Mark’s follow-up tests to date have been very positive. At six months, the audiogram showed that his hearing was unchanged and the MRI showed that the acoustic neuroma was darkening and was slightly smaller in size. 

After one year, the audiogram actually showed some improvement in speech recognition and in nerve function. 

The latter was significant as it suggested that the radiation dosage had been tolerated well by the nerve. The second follow-up MRI showed the acoustic neuroma was essentially the same size, but had turned white again, indicating scarring. 

Dr. Chang told Mark that this acoustic neuroma was following the classic progressions of necrosis – or cell death.

”I’m so thankful for having had the opportunity to have been treated by the wonderful physicians at Stanford and to have found a non-invasive technology like the CyberKnife,” said Mark. “When I first started down this path I was resigned to having a very risky surgical procedure and certainly a loss of hearing and a possibility of other deficits. Instead, I never saw an operating room and my quality of life was unchanged. I couldn't be happier with how things have worked out.”

In December of 2007 Mark had his six-year post-treatment MRI and audiogram. He met with Dr. Chang and reviewed the results, which continued to be very positive. Mark’s acoustic neuroma still showed up as very “dead” and had shrunk further in size. 

Overall, the tumor was 25 to 30 percent less in volume compared to the time of treatment. His hearing test showed that there had been no decline since pre-treatment levels with speech recognition at 100 percent in his affected ear.

For more than a decade CyberKnife has treated acoustic neuromas with great success. As of the creation of this patient profile, Mark found his CyberKnife treatment to be successful.

Frank’s Story: Metastatic Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma


Frank's Story: Metastatic Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma

When it comes to keeping the faith, few are as unwavering as Reverend Dr. Frank Glasford and his wife Shirley.

When Frank began having problems swallowing he went from medical center to medical center and doctor after doctor but Frank says they never addressed what was causing his swallowing problem and would only give him a feeding tube so he didn’t have to come back to the hospital as often.

                                               

It turns out a cancerous tumor behind his esophagus and trachea was making it impossible for Frank to swallow.

The tumor was a Metastatic Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma.

As a result, Frank was unable to eat and whittled down from 160 to 115 pounds in about two-and-a-half months.

“Not being able to swallow or eat was tough take. Plus I had to sit and watch everyone eat my wife’s wonderful food. She’s a fantastic cook.”

Shirley didn’t believe doctors couldn’t do anything to help Frank, “It just didn’t make any sense to us.”

Months later, while praying for some kind of help to come, Shirley heard a commercial on TV about a treatment for tumors at the CyberKnife Center of Miami, “The TV ad said, CyberKnife could treat a tumor anywhere in the body and I knew it was the answer to our prayers.”

The Glasford’s immediately called CyberKnife Miami and came in that same day with Frank’s medical files for a consultation.

Frank says, “A divine intervention took us to CyberKnife Miami and while there we met other patients who were treated. Even a patient who came all the way from England. All we heard were great things and good results.”

CyberKnife Miami radiation oncologist, Dr. Mark Pomper met with Frank and determined the tumor causing his swallowing problems could definitely be treated with CyberKnife Radio-surgery.

Shirley says, “At last we finally had some hope now.”

“CyberKnife was the perfect tool to treat Frank’s tumor because it could deliver the highest dose of radiation possible with pinpoint accuracy, targeting only the tumor, preventing harm to vital surrounding organs like the heart and lungs,” says Dr. Pomper.

CyberKnife therapy also requires a lot fewer treatments than standard radiation which Dr. Pomper says could have easily been 40 treatments.

Instead Frank only needed five, forty-minute CyberKnife treatments. By the second treatment he already had relief and by the third he was swallowing normally and eating again.

“Food never tasted so good. We take many things for granted, like swallowing and eating. I don’t anymore and started gaining my weight back immediately.”

Shirley says, “We never heard of the CyberKnife Center of Miami before and I’m sure we saw their commercial on TV many times, but didn’t pay attention until Frank’s tumor.”

Dr. Pomper says, “CyberKnife is an amazing option that should be used a lot more often. Patients should be given the choice of standard radiation or CyberKnife radiation. Anyone who wants to call us, we’re happy to talk to them and guide them toward the best treatment. We’re here to help.”

Frank couldn’t believe how easy treatment was, “I would just lay there and listen to the music while the machine did all the work. There was no pain or side effects. No interruption to my life.”

Dr. Pomper says, “I don’t think anybody wanted to treat Frank because they were afraid standard radiation would cause more harm. That’s where CyberKnife comes in. That radiation beam is so precise, it can treat hard to reach tumors and spare healthy surrounding tissue. It’s an amazing treatment people need to be aware of and not be afraid of going elsewhere if they’re not getting the help they need.”

If Frank hadn’t been treated with CyberKnife, Dr. Pomper says the tumor would have continued growing, causing more problems and he wouldn’t have been able to live life to its fullest potential.

During the entire time, Frank and Shirley never lost faith. Frank says, “I wasn’t afraid of dying, I just didn’t want to speed it up due to medical negligence.”

“I’m a pastor and I believe this happened for a reason, so I could spread the word about CyberKnife Miami. We tell everyone we know and we pass out their cards and brochures. I have faith and know the Lord, Shirley, Dr. Pomper and CyberKnife saved my life.” 

                                                    

To find out if CyberKnife is the right treatment choice for you, talk to one of our cancer experts at the CyberKnife Center of Miami 305-279-2900


 

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