Judith’s Story

Judith, a busy real estate asset manager, mother and local volunteer was rushing to get to a routine chest scan scheduled right around the winter holidays in 2004. Due to overbookings at the hospital she was tempted to reschedule her appointment for a later date and return to the urgent calling of her “to-do” list. Luckily, the hospital technicians encouraged her to stay, and today she is thankful that she did.

Judith was diagnosed with stage IIIa lung cancer. She received 12 rounds of chemotherapy, 23 days of radiation therapy and surgery two weeks later to remove the upper lobe of her right lung. Her lung had trouble sealing following surgery which resulted in a 15-day hospital stay and four weeks of recovery at home. From the pathology report, some residual cancer was discovered leading her to undergo eight more rounds of chemotherapy. Judith hoped the worst of things were behind her and for almost three years they were.

Then in the summer of 2007 doctors found a recurrence of her cancer in a lymph node located deep in the center of Judith’s chest. Since she had already undergone surgery and received conventional radiation and given that the location of the cancer was close to sensitive, vital structures in her chest, her thoracic surgeon at St. Francis Hospital in Hartford, CT, Dr. Thayer, suggested CyberKnife® Robotic Radiosurgery. Because of its extreme precision, the CyberKnife System is able to focus the radiation delivery on the tumor and avoid surrounding healthy tissue. This meant Judith was a candidate despite having previous radiation.

“The only thing I was nervous about was receiving more radiation since I had already received several rounds of conventional radiation. But I knew that the CyberKnife was precise in its radiation delivery and therefore wouldn’t kill any of my healthy surrounding lung tissue”.

Judith underwent four outpatient treatment sessions with the CyberKnife. She was amazed by how easy her treatments were, especially compared to her previous experiences with surgery and conventional radiation.

“The first time around, it was an eight month period of my life spent at the cancer center, so the second time, when I had the option to do four treatments over two weeks and be done, it was a no brainer,” said Judith. “With the CyberKnife there was no downtime and I didn’t experience any side effects. During the treatments I just lay comfortably on the treatment table and was able to watch the animal channel on a TV in the ceiling. It was a piece of cake compared to what I had been through already.”

Immediately following her CyberKnife treatments, Judith was able to resume her daily activities and got back to work right away. Nearly three years later Judith is doing well and has had no recurrences.

As of the creation of this patient profile, Judith found her CyberKnife treatment to be successful.

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Important Safety Statement: Most side effects of radiotherapy, including radiotherapy delivered with Accuray systems, are mild and temporary, often involving fatigue, nausea, and skin irritation. Side effects can be severe, however, leading to pain, alterations in normal body functions (for example, urinary or salivary function), deterioration of quality of life, permanent injury and even death. Side effects can occur during or shortly after radiation treatment or in the months and years following radiation. The nature and severity of side effects depend on many factors, including the size and location of the treated tumor, the treatment technique (for example, the radiation dose), the patient’s general medical condition, to name a few. For more details about the side effects of your radiation therapy, and if treatment with an Accuray product is right for you, ask your doctor.