“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 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.”
After Shaun’s CyberKnife treatment, his brain tumor began shrinking. 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)
Call the CyberKnife Center of Miami if you’ve been diagnosed with an Acoustic Neuroma. Chances are we can help treat you non invasively and you too can get on with your life. 305-279-2900
CyberKnife Radiation Therapy for Acoustic Neuromas:
Nationwide, thousands of patients suffering from this condition have been treated using CyberKnife radiosurgery while maintaining quality of life.
Thanks to breakthrough advances in technology, the CyberKnife uses radiation to ablate the tumors and stop them from growing, while preserving facial nerve function and possibly preserving hearing.
The pinpoint accuracy of CyberKnife also eliminates damage to surrounding healthy tissue, which can be a problem with standard radiation.
Despite its name, CyberKnife is not a knife at all. Also known as stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS), this cutting-edge radiation technology is completely non-invasive.
Treating Acoustic Neuromas with CyberKnife:
There’s no cutting, incision, blood, anesthesia, or pain. Few, if any, side effects occur, and there is no recovery time. You can resume your normal activities immediately following treatment.
Each treatment typically lasts 30 to 60 minutes and is done on an outpatient basis. Patients typically require only one to five treatments. If the tumors come back, we can often ablate them again.
Unlike other radiosurgery systems – such as the Gamma Knife – the CyberKnife System does not require patients to be fitted with a rigid and invasive head frame. In the setup stage, the radiation therapist will create a soft mesh mask that is custom-fitted to the patient’s face. This comfortable and non-invasive mask helps the patient keep his or her head and neck still during treatment.
While wearing the mask, a CT scan will be performed. The CT data then will be used by the CyberKnife team to determine the exact size, shape, and location of the tumor.
The medical team will determine the area that must be targeted by radiation and the radiation dose. They also will identify critical structures where radiation should be minimized.
The CyberKnife will move slowly around you during treatment. You won’t feel a thing; it’s completely pain free. Patients dress comfortably in their own clothes and can bring music to listen to during the treatment. Nothing will be required of the patient during the treatment, except to relax. In fact, patients often sleep through the treatment.
Keep in mind that the tumor will not suddenly disappear. In fact, it could take several weeks or longer to determine the effectiveness of the CyberKnife treatment.
Response to treatment varies from patient to patient. Clinical experience has shown that most patients respond very well to CyberKnife treatments.
CyberKnife radiosurgery has been used for more than two decades with extremely high rates of tumor control and most patients are good candidates for it.