by | Oct 1, 2014 | Breast Cancer, Cancer Treatment

Ruby’s Story: Living Life To The Fullest While Battling Breast Cancer That Keeps Spreading
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 9-11-2001 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 and “No matter how many times it came back I didn’t let it get me down or give up hope.”

Unfortunately it reappeared again, this time in her lymph nodes. Ruby’s doctor said since the cancer was very slow growing 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 on the internet and found their website and called immediately. I was givien an appointment right away. As soon as the doctors saw my x-rays they said, we can help you. My husband and I couldn’t believe no doctor mentioned it to us before.”

Dr. James Schwade, Medical 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 available 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 always recommend the best options . I don’t know what would’ve happened if I’d waited. It is so important 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 effective 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.

Is CyberKnife right for you?  Talk with a CyberKnife expert. At the CyberKnife Center of Miami our experienced physicians and nurses can offer you the best advice on treatment options.

For more information, please contact us at: 800-204-0455

“Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them.”
~ Dalai Lama