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 Medical 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.”