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Carol's Story

Diagnosis: Renal Cell Carcinoma

For Carol M., life revolves around family, including her three children and 11 grandchildren. However, for many years, a cloud also has hung over this family due to Carol’s health issues. The worst was in 1993, when Carol was first diagnosed with advanced renal cell carcinoma, the most prevalent form of kidney cancer. Frightened, Carol underwent surgery to remove her kidney, and, despite being shaken, felt confident the cancer was gone. Unfortunately, a decade later in 2003, doctors found a separate tumor on her remaining kidney, and again she had to undergo surgery. Later that same year, Carol was given more bad news: her kidney cancer had metastasized to her bones. It wasn’t long before the tumors on Carol’s tailbone and spine were causing her unbearable pain. The pain got so bad that Carol had trouble even sitting down, and she found it increasingly difficult to keep up with her grandchildren. After speaking with her doctor, Naomi Haas, M.D., at the University of Pennsylvania, and researching multiple treatment options with her family, Carol decided to undergo treatment with the CyberKnife® Robotic Radiosurgery System to help improve her quality of life and allow her more time to spend with her family. CyberKnife radiosurgery is a non-invasive treatment option and is used often for patients, such as Carol, who have limited treatment options. Carol was first treated with the CyberKnife System in 2009 and describes the procedure as painless. Unlike her kidney surgeries—which left Carol with long, debilitating recovery times during which she was forced to miss important family activities—her CyberKnife treatments came with virtually no recovery time and completely alleviated her pain. In fact, Carol was able to return to her normal activities immediately, including spending time with her family at the beach, something she loves to do. Additionally, one of Carol’s fears when she learned she needed to undergo more cancer treatment was that she would lose her hair. Since CyberKnife treatment does not cause this side effect, Carol found that to be an additional bonus, making getting through treatment that much easier. Since 2009 Carol and her physicians have been using treatment with the CyberKnife System to help manage her disease. On Valentine’s Day 2012, while undergoing treatment for a new set of tumors on her tailbone and spine, Carol had a date planned with her son and was elated that she could head directly to dinner following her CyberKnife treatment session. Carol and her family are passionate about sharing their experience with the CyberKnife System because the unique technology has helped their family better cope with the stresses of cancer treatment. Carol wants other patients to know that CyberKnife treatment is completely non-invasive and involves no pain or cutting. She describes the actual treatment experience by saying,
“It’s like a human robot that moves around your body from multiple angles while you lie there. It’s remarkable and fascinating. I’m thankful to have been presented with the CyberKnife treatment option and that instead of hindering my quality of life, my life is now more enjoyable because of it.”
As of the creation of this patient profile, Carol found her CyberKnife treatment to be successful.


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