Cutting edge cancer treatment

April 28, 2008 1:05:34 PM PDT
One of the latest cancer treatments has come to the Delaware Valley. It's called Cyberknife, and doctors say it's one of the most promising new therapies. Actor Patrick Swayze is reportedly getting the treatment for pancreatic cancer. And patients right here in our area are seeing results.

David and Linda Schwartz have been married 42 years. They now have two grown daughters, two grandchildren and one more on the way. But when David was diagnosed with liver cancer, Linda feared their time together was running out.

Doctors say because of the tumor's location, surgery wasn't an option - nor was traditional radiation because it would hurt surrounding healthy tissue.

At first it appeared David's only option was chemotherapy. The chemo did slow down the activity of the tumor, but it couldn't destroy the cancer.

Then David learned about a new treatment at Philadelphia Cyberknife in Havertown. Cyberknife uses high-energy radiation beams. The pinpoint beams converge at the tumor, giving it a high dose. But because the beams come from dozens of angles the surrounding healthy tissue gets very little radiation, keeping it healthy and limiting side effects.

David tells us, "I always had problems with chemo. But Cyberknife was nothing."

Dr. Rachelle Lanciano also says unlike other radiation techniques Cyberknife accurately tracks the tumor, compensating for any movement such as breathing. Cyberknife can treat benign and cancerous tumors of the brain, liver, pancreas, prostate and even some lung cancers.

"I really feel like this is the first new thing in radiation to really help our patients," said Dr. Lanciano.

It helped David... after just three treatments. "They said in their words, there is no sign of any cancer."

For more information contact Philadelphia Cyberknife at 610-446-6850 or Capital Health System in Trenton at 609-394-4565.