“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 Medical 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.