Pinpointing Prostate Cancer: CyberKnife Offers Painless Noninvasive Treatment
Florham Park resident Michael Desiderio was completely caught off guard when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. The 69-year-old paper company owner had no symptoms; but a routine physical revealed an elevated PSA level, and a subsequent biopsy indicated the presence of some cancerous tissue.
Wanting to explore a variety of treatment options, Michael and his partner Rose visited several area doctors.
“The first doctor I saw recommended surgery to remove my prostate,” says the semi-retired New Jersey native whose family was active in Garden State horse racing. “I wasn’t comfortable with that. A second doctor suggested radioactive seed implantation.”
Then, a friend’s daughter who works as a nurse at Overlook suggested a meeting with Louis Schwartz, M.D., medical director of radiation oncology at Overlook’s Carol G. Simon Cancer Center.
“We were very impressed,” recalls Michael about their meeting with Dr. Schwartz. “He calmly and matter-of-factly suggested CyberKnife®, a painless, noninvasive outpatient treatment option for prostate cancer.”
“CyberKnife combines robotics and image guidance technology to destroy cancer cells with multiple, highly targeted doses of radiation,” explains Dr. Schwartz. “Originally used only for small, early-stage tumors or inoperable tumors in the brain or spine, the treatment capabilities of CyberKnife now extend to the lungs, liver, pancreas and prostate. There is no incision, no blood and virtually no recovery time.”
Dr. Schwartz’s words were music to Michael’s ears. To prepare for the CyberKnife treatments, Overlook technicians created a custom-molded immobilization device to keep Michael comfortable and still during each procedure. Markers were also inserted into Michael’s body to create reference landmarks for the image guidance system.
Michael underwent a series of five CyberKnife treatments in one week, each lasting 30-40 minutes a day.
“I listened to music and fell asleep every time,” he says. “Then I went home, showered and went to work. It was completely painless and I had absolutely no side effects.”
Following CyberKnife treatment, Michael’s urologist John Gianis reported that Michael’s PSA levels were less than half of what they had been and are likely to continue dropping over the next two to three years.
“For me, CyberKnife was a no-brainer,” states Michael. “I never missed a beat in my daily routine. Now, I can look forward to more quality time with my two sons and seven grandchildren, and I can take Rose on that long-awaited trip to Italy this year.”