CyberKnife Center Of Miami Prostate Cancer Treatment
Patient Success Stories
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Patient Success Stories
Every day, we hear from our grateful prostate cancer patients who were successfully treated at the CyberKnife Center of Miami. They praise the ease of treatment, compassionate staff, and the ability to go on with their lives without disruption during, and especially after, their treatment.
Here are a few stories of survival.
Howard’s Story: Prostate Cancer, “No One Ever Told Me About CyberKnife”
“When I was diagnosed with prostate cancer, I thought my world was coming to an end. I spoke with many men about their prostate cancer treatments and 95% told me that they had bad experiences with open surgery (prostatectomy) or standard radiation and many felt very sick from their treatments.” Those who elected surgery had long recuperations and some experienced side effects including frequent urination and ED, erectile dysfunction. Men who chose standard radiation had 42 treatments over several months and were feeling so tired that they were unable to enjoy a quality of life. “I knew that neither of these treatment options were for me, said Howard. I didn’t know what I was going to do.”
In Trinidad Tobago, West Indies where Howard resides, there are limited treatment options available for prostate cancer even though they have the highest incidence of prostate cancer in the Caribbean. Howard realized that he needed to search outside of the Caribbean and went to Canada where he once lived in search of newer treatments. “Again, the only treatments I heard about were surgery and standard radiation. It wasn’t until I spoke with my cousin in New Jersey that I learned about CyberKnife Radiation Therapy and it sounded very interesting. No one ever told me about CyberKnife.”
CyberKnife, also known as SBRT (Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy) is the most advanced radiosurgery technique available for treating prostate cancer. It is non-invasive and reduces the risk of side effects that can result from traditional treatments such as surgery and standard radiation.
With CyberKnife Therapy you typically undergo 5 treatments over about 10 days, compared to 42 treatments over several months with standard radiation. It dissipates tumors with pinpoint accuracy and is less likely to harm surrounding healthy tissue. There’s no cutting, incision, blood, anesthesia, pain, and no recovery time.
Data from a recent study on CyberKnife treatment for low-risk prostate cancer showed of the 230 men who participated in the study, 98.4 percent had local disease control 10 years after receiving SBRT.
After learning about CyberKnife, Howard realized this was the treatment he would be most comfortable with.
He researched the internet to find the closest CyberKnife location to Trinidad and found CyberKnife Center of Miami. “I immediately went to their website to learn more and I read and watched the wonderful patient success stories. I was convinced this is where I needed to go for my treatment”.
“I called the Center and spoke with Maria who had me send my records to see if I was a candidate for CyberKnife and indeed I was! Maria made all of my travel plans, including booking a hotel within walking distance of the Center. Maria was wonderful, she is a very caring person and made me feel very comfortable.”
Just 1 month later, on December 11, 2016 Howard began a series of 5 treatments, 1 treatment every other day, under the care of Dr. Mark Pomper, Radiation Oncologist & Medical Director at CyberKnife Miami.
“Howard was an excellent candidate for CyberKnife says Dr. Pomper. He was in good health and while his PSA levels continued to rise, his MRI and bone scan showed that the tumor was localized to his prostate so we weren’t worried that the cancer had spread to other areas. The procedure went very smoothly, and he tolerated it well enough that he was able to go about his life and enjoy Miami.”
Howard’s treatments were completed within 10 days, the only side effect was a little constipation which didn’t last very long and some fatigue. “I felt nothing during the treatment, in fact I rested, listened to music and found it relaxing.” He felt so good throughout his treatments that he was able walk to and from treatments, enjoy a few beers with friends after a treatment and enjoy some sightseeing around Miami. Just three weeks after completing his treatments, he already felt better and stronger and no longer woke up during the night to urinate.
Howard says that the team at CyberKnife Miami was so accommodating. “Dr. Pomper is very compassionate, he explained everything very professionally and he addressed my fears because I was very nervous.” Howard even referred to Dr. Pomper as an “Ambassador” who should be commended! He also worked with Mario Tobon, a Radiation Therapist at CyberKnife Miami who helped him through his treatments and says he’s a fine gentleman who should be commended for his clever personality. “When you’re a medical patient you need upbeat people around you to keep your spirits high and feel comfortable while being treated, says Howard.”
Two months after the CyberKnife treatment Howard went for another PSA test and the results showed his levels dropped to 1.1 ensuring that the treatment was successful! “I was so excited about the news and my new healthy life that I called everyone! When I was first diagnosed with cancer I felt a sense of emptiness worrying whether or not I would beat this and was so concerned that my life could be coming to an end. Now I’m on top of the world, my PSA levels went from 15.1 down to 1.1, it doesn’t get much better than that!”
Paul’s Story: Surviving Metastatic Prostate Cancer
“In 2004 I found my first palpable metastatic prostate cancer. The CyberKnife treatment then saved my life.”
It takes a village to handle and survive metastatic prostate cancer, a prostate cancer that has spread to bones or lungs or lymph nodes and elsewhere. And one of the crucial aspects of that village, for me, has been the CyberKnife, a form of radiation that has been specific and accurate for many of my metastatic lesions, a treatment that has minimized collateral damage.
I was first diagnosed in 1984 at the ripe age of 35, turning 36. Surgery, a radical prostatectomy, was the only real option at that time. Even though my surgeons were convinced they got it all – I loved their optimism – the margins of the cancer were not clear; there appeared to be some rogue cells that had gone beyond the capsule of the prostate.
Indeed the newly developed PSA (prostate specific antigen) in 1989 showed that the tumor had reappeared, at least microscopically. Then the fun began. An intermittent androgen blockade helped me avoid permanent surgical castration, but it meant intermittent castration to stop the cancer cells from being constantly fueled by testosterone, the male hormone.
In 2004 I found my first palpable metastatic prostate cancer. The CyberKnife treatment then saved my life: A lesion in the lung had shown up in a CT Scan – an unusual spot for prostate cancer to spread to. An astute thoracic surgeon pointed out that I did not have to have my ribs and lungs splayed open in order to respond to the cancer. Instead let’s go, she, the surgeon, said to me, to the CyberKnife, available at Georgetown University near my home in Washington, D.C.
And, voila! It worked beautifully.
Subsequently, since 2010, I have had the CyberKnife treatment to several oligometastases, single lesions found here and there when off the androgen withdrawal treatment. Lesions in the thoracic spine, one in the lumbar spine, two separate ones in the skull (the parietal-occipital area) – and one especially sensitive lesion along the edge of the parietal-occipital brain, some rogue cells near where the skull lesions had been active.
Since I make my living using my brain as a psychiatrist, it was crucial that the treatment not create any collateral damage. And with five treatments in 40 minute five day periods, again voila! The CyberKnife treatment has allowed me to live a full life, professionally, recreationally, and family-wise. What a gift!
Yes, now it’s been 31 years of living with prostate cancer, 25 years of living with chemical evidence of metastatic disease, and 11 years of dealing with palpable disease, with CyberKnife continuing to lead the way.
Don’s Story: “Why I Chose CyberKnife Over Surgery”
“I was numb for 24-hours after hearing cancer in the same sentence as my name.”
When 55-year-old Don Kearns landed in a urologists office with kidney stones the doctor also suggested a PSA test for prostate cancer since he’d never had one. “I said no way. I have no symptoms and there’s no family history of prostate cancer.”
The doctor convinced Don and discovered his PSA level was high, he recommended a biopsy which revealed prostate cancer.
“It hit me like a ton of bricks. I immediately started researching what that meant and thought, I’m a dead man. My brother had kidney cancer ten years ago. He’s okay but my father died of lung cancer at 55 and I was turning 55 so I was pretty nervous.”
Don started researching the best treatment options for prostate cancer and spoke to seven doctors.
“The majority recommended surgery. They said it was the best way to treat it at my young age. But I didn’t like the risk factors including damage to other organs, impotence and incontinence.”
All the surgeons assured Don those things wouldn’t happen but Don wasn’t convinced because he knew of men experiencing such side effects after prostate surgery.
Don was also frustrated with many of the doctors offices because they wouldn’t take his calls or call back when they said they would. One center scheduled surgery without his permission.
“I was having nightmares and in the back of my mind I kept thinking about CyberKnife. I’d heard about it, started researching, found The CyberKnife Center of Miami’s website and began reading. It explained exactly how CyberKnife works. I read all the studies, patient testimonials and watched the videos on the website. It was very helpful and seemed like a much better option.”
So Don called The CyberKnife Center of Miami.
“They talked me off the ledge and made me feel so comfortable.”
CyberKnife Miami recommended Don consult with board certified radiation oncologist, Dr. Mark Pomper to learn more about CyberKnife Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy, also known as SBRT and design his treatment plan.
“I showed Dr. Pomper a picture of my family and grandchildren and said, this is why I’m here. I want more time with them. Dr. Pomper laid out all the objective facts and was the most gracious doctor I talked to. I was convinced and moved forward with treatment at CyberKnife Miami and Dr. Pomper. For the first time I felt confident I was on the right track and slept well that night as did my family.”
Dr. Pomper says, “Don’s a good candidate for CyberKnife because his tumor was small and hadn’t spread.” He adds, “There’s a general thought among surgeons that surgery is better for men under age 60 because radiation’s long term effects may cause problems years later, like impotence and incontinence, but that’s not what research is proving. Surgery has long term effects too. CyberKnife has fewer side effects if any. Its pinpoint radiation beams hit only the tumor, dissolving it, so we can give a much higher dose with a lot fewer treatments, leaving healthy surrounding tissue unharmed.”
CyberKnife, considered a standard radiation treatment option for prostate cancer requires only 5 treatments over two weeks instead of 45 or more over several months with other types of radiation.
Don says, “I asked one surgeon what about doing CyberKnife SBRT and the doctor said what’s SBRT and I walked out of his office.”
CyberKnife is the most effective form of SBRT known as Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy. While some doctors don’t know about it, most do but may not recommend it because their medical center doesn’t have the technology. Plus it’s less lucrative because it requires much fewer treatments.
Some urologists may have a conflict of interest because they have ownership in a conventional radiation therapy center making more money recommending 45 treatments instead of five.
Don was also told by surgeons there’s not enough research on CyberKnife even though it was FDA approved in 2001, has treated hundreds of thousands of patients world wide, is covered by insurance and has a 97-percent success rate for prostate cancer.
Dr. Pomper says, “There’s nearly 20 years of scientific research proving it’s safe and effective. I bring my patients to The CyberKnife Center of Miami because often it’s the best treatment option for them.”
CyberKnife Miami is open to all patients world wide and CyberKnife trained radiation oncologists.
Don says, “From a customer service stand point, CyberKnife Miami is superior. Every time they said they’d do something they did it. If they said they’d call, send an e-mail, set up an appointment they did it. They were on time and walked you through every step. Their professionalism is impressive from the first call to the last follow up. What I never expected was their radiation therapist, Mario Tobon showing up for my MRI and CT Scan at imaging facilities not part of CyberKnife Miami. When you’re scared, don’t know what to expect and they come to hold your hand, it gives you and your family a lot of confidence and eases your fears. They treated me and the whole family compassionately and that meant the world to me.”
“The whole process was a piece of cake. I’d lay down on the CyberKnife table for each forty minute treatment, relax and listen to my special music play list. It’s fascinating how a machine which makes no noise is so powerful.”
“My side effects were minimal. After my fifth and final treatment, I had a little fatigue and urinary urgency that lasted maybe a day. Nothing bad enough to stop me from working or doing any thing. We’d walk out of CyberKnife Miami and go to lunch while surgery patients I knew of were dealing with pain, bleeding and learning how to urinate again.”
Dr. Pomper says, “Do yourself a favor, before you get any cancer treatment do your research, learn all your options, get a second opinion from a radiation oncologist and ask about CyberKnife therapy.”
Don agrees, “You’ve got to be your own patient advocate. The only person looking out for you, is you. The biggest take away from my experience is what goes on with American medicine today, it’s unreal.”
“Now I educate everyone I can about prostate cancer and CyberKnife. I’m amazed CyberKnife isn’t offered to everyone. After my first treatment I went to the gym and set my personal best bench press and endurance record and then hit the golf course.”
“Cancer changes you. You look at sunsets differently and you don’t sweat the small stuff. I’m a fighter with a positive attitude. I’m fighting for my life and I’m going to win.”
“After CyberKnife treatments, it’s like I never had prostate cancer!”
As an airline executive, Mike Cibula frequently traveled the world, but that did not stop him from getting his PSA levels tested every year since age 40. Mike was diligent about it because his dad had prostate cancer.
Mike had a clean bill of health until recently. At the age of 66, Mike’s PSA results came back higher than normal. He was diagnosed with early stage prostate cancer and had a Gleason Score of 7.
His urologist recommended surgery or “watchful waiting” but the Miami Shores, FL resident wasn’t interested in either option so he called a trusted friend who has a lot of medical knowledge.
Mike says, “She suggested I go to the CyberKnife Center of Miami. She worked for a surgeon that often took his patients to CyberKnife Miami to treat all kinds of tumors, both cancerous and non-cancerous.”
Mike never heard of CyberKnife, but called CyberKnife Miami to check it out. They sent him information about CyberKnife radiosurgery for prostate cancer and after studying it, meeting the staff and speaking with other patients, he was convinced and chose CyberKnife radiosurgery treatment.
CyberKnife isn’t a knife at all. There is no cutting or anesthesia. It uses pinpoint targeted radiation with missile guidance technology to target and treat tumors. Dr. Silvio Garcia, the board certified radiation oncologist who treated Mike at the CyberKnife Center of Miami says, “Mike was a good candidate for CyberKnife because his tumor wasn’t large and it hadn’t spread.”
Mike says, “It was 5 easy treatments, about 20 minutes each over 10 days and I had absolutely no side effects, it didn’t slow me down at all and I haven’t had a problem since. I don’t feel any different today than before I knew I had prostate cancer.”
Dr. Garcia says, “We’re seeing very positive results with CyberKnife treatment for prostate cancer. More than 90 percent of patients 5 years post-treatment continue to maintain low PSA levels.”
Surgery for prostate cancer carries an increased risk of incontinence, impotence and infection. In addition, standard radiation requires 40+ treatments over 2 to 3 months compared to CyberKnife’s 5 treatments over 10 days.
A recent study found more than half of prostate patients who choose “watchful waiting” discovered their cancer was much more aggressive than previously thought. Dr. Garcia says he’s very cautious about watchful waiting. “I believe that being proactive and taking immediate action is best.”
Mike agrees, “Why take the risk of being cut open or waiting if you can have it taken care of quickly, efficiently and effectively with CyberKnife?”
Dr. Garcia says, “Years of mounting research is proving CyberKnife to be the gold standard for treating prostate cancer and as more men learn about CyberKnife it will become the number one treatment of choice.”
Today, retired from his job at the airlines, Mike continues traveling the world. He remains cancer-free and tells anyone who’ll listen about CyberKnife Center of Miami.
“They made me feel so comfortable and are so nice. I can’t say enough great things about them. All of the doctors work together as a team. They were all there for my first treatment and they continue to call to see how I’m doing. Their compassion is just incredible. I asked them to send me a stack of brochures and I pass them out to everyone to help spread the word about this amazing technology. I am forever grateful to have learned about CyberKnife and in particular the CyberKnife Center of Miami.”
Joe’s Story: Comparing CyberKnife to Standard Radiation
“Treatment with CyberKnife is like a day at the beach. Standard radiation for my throat was torture.”
When Joe Aviles was diagnosed with prostate cancer during his annual physical, it came as quite a shock. “I said ‘Wow.’ I had prostate cancer, and I didn’t have any symptoms, nothing, no problems.”
Joe admits he was scared about treatment. “When I talked to other guys I heard horror stories. Doctors took out their prostate or they had too much radiation and now they can’t hold their urine or get erections.”
Joe’s doctor told him all of his options: he could do watchful waiting, surgery to remove the prostate, standard radiation treatments, or have CyberKnife radiosurgery therapy.
“There was no way I was going to have my prostate taken out and with standard radiation, treatment would take over two months, but then my doctor told me about the CyberKnife and that seemed like a better way to go. There was no cutting, no surgery, and treatment was finished in two weeks.”
Joe went to the CyberKnife Center of Miami and met with a radiation oncologist, “He treated it like it was no big deal. He assured me this was a good way to go. He said, “Don’t worry, you’re a young man, and you’ll live to be an old man.”
Joe was a good candidate for this non-invasive treatment because the tumor was small and contained in the prostate.
Dr. James Schwade, CyberKnife Miami’s Executive Director says, “There is a lot of solid research proving that CyberKnife Radiation Therapy is as effective as standard radiation treatments with fewer if any side effects and CyberKnife can be done in 5 treatments over a 10 day period compared to 42 treatments over several months.
Because the CyberKnife’s radiation beam is so precise, it’s much less likely to damage surrounding healthy tissue, therefore resulting in fewer side effects.
Joe says, “I can’t believe what some of my friends with prostate cancer went through, and they didn’t have to. The saddest part is their doctors didn’t tell them about CyberKnife. After talking to the cancer experts at CyberKnife Miami and learning about the CyberKnife, I knew I made the right decision. I can’t believe anyone would choose anything else. It was so easy. I didn’t feel a thing during or after treatment. Most times, I just laid there, closed my eyes, and listened to the music.”
Joe had 5 CyberKnife treatments over 10 days. “It’s been 6 years since my treatments. I’m cancer free and have no complaints. I wish more men knew about CyberKnife. Don’t just do what your doctor tells you, do your homework, learn all your treatment options.”
Joe has also has been treated for throat cancer, which required chemotherapy and standard radiation. Because it had spread, CyberKnife was not an option, but he wishes it would have been. Here’s how Joe compares the two.
“Treatment with CyberKnife is like a day at the beach. Standard radiation for my throat was torture.”
Joe and his wife Luz go to cancer fundraisers all the time. He says, “It gives me the opportunity to educate people about CyberKnife. If I had to do it over again I’d go to CyberKnife Miami and my friends would too.”
“Once I made the decision to go ahead with the CyberKnife, I felt a calmness and relief that I wouldn’t have to deal with the potential serious complications.”
What he thought was an ordinary drive home from watching a spring training baseball game in Ft. Myers, Fla., turned out to be a defining moment in Scott’s life.
On March 24, 2006, Scott, his wife Cathy and a couple of friends enjoyed an afternoon watching the New York Yankees take on the Minnesota Twins. While returning home to Naples, Fla., Scott answered a call on his cell phone from his urologist, Dr. David Spellberg.
Just a couple months before, Scott had been referred to Dr. Spellberg because, during a routine physical, his family physician discovered that Scott’s Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) level had gone up by more than a point and a half, to 3.68, in just a year. That fateful March day, Dr. Spellberg called with Scott’s biopsy results. He had prostate cancer. “I was devastated,” said Scott, who had just turned 61. “I thought I was too healthy and too young. I thought I was invincible and that there was no way my biopsy would show cancer.”
At the time of his diagnosis, Scott had been retired for about six years and was enjoying fly fishing, golfing and traveling with his wife. He had four young grandchildren who he expected to spend time with as they grew up. “As a doctor, I imagined the worst possible outcome,” he said. “I was afraid it was one of the types of prostate cancer that might spread quickly.”
After taking a few days to deal emotionally with his diagnosis, Scott began extensive research on prostate cancer and the various treatments. He spoke with a number of prostate cancer patients about their treatments and the problems they encountered. He conferred with several internists and urologists. He also spoke with his youngest son, a cardiology resident in Boston, who asked his colleagues about their thoughts on the options available to his father. Around the same time, one of Scott’s friends attended a prostate cancer seminar at Naples Community Hospital and brought him back information about the CyberKnife® Robotic Radiosurgery System.
“When I read the brochure, I was excited to talk more to Dr. Spellberg about whether I was a candidate for the CyberKnife,” Scott recalled. Together they decided that CyberKnife treatment was the best option to meet Scott’s needs.
“What convinced me to choose this treatment were two main things. The first was the sub-millimeter precision of the radiation beam. The second was how the CyberKnife technology can detect slight motion of the prostate during treatment and then stop to recalibrate. These features enable the tumor to be treated accurately, with little risk of radiation to the normal adjacent tissues,” he said.
The convenience of needing just five days of treatment was an additional factor that appealed to him. “Once I made the decision to go ahead with the CyberKnife, I felt a calmness and relief that I wouldn’t have to deal with the potential serious complications.”
On April 27, 2006, Scott had a CT scan and MRI so that Dr. Jay Friedland, a radiation oncologist, could locate the 40-gram tumor and develop a treatment plan. Treatment with the CyberKnife System began on May 8 at Naples Community Hospital and lasted for five consecutive days.
“Each session lasted about an hour, and throughout the treatment I was able to relax and listen to my own music in a pleasant room,” Scott said. “And after the treatment with the CyberKnife was finished, I rested for no more than a day and then resumed my normal activities.”
The treatment didn’t slow Scott down. Scott said that although he was told to expect fatigue, he never felt overly tired. Only in the short-term did he experience urinary urgency and a one-day bout of diarrhea immediately after his course of treatment was complete. Just two days after the treatment ended, he was back out on the golf course, playing 18 holes with his friends.
The results of CyberKnife treatment exceeded Scott’s expectations. Within six months of his treatment, Scott’s PSA level was down to 0.7, and seven years later has gone even lower, averaging between 0.1 and 0.4 at his regular check-ups.
“If the patient is the right candidate,” Scott added, “the decision to go with the CyberKnife is a no-brainer.”
As of the completion of this patient profile, Scott found his CyberKnife treatment to be successful.
“The treatment was wonderful. No side effects, no problems, and, per my urologist, no cancer.”
Jeff Hamilton, a NASA engineer and golf enthusiast, found himself working for the Apollo Space Program in Houston, Texas 45 years ago. Jeff was involved in all of the Apollo/Saturn space launches up until the now infamous Apollo 13 mission.
After his tenure with the Apollo Space Program, Jeff worked as a venture capitalist with various universities and companies to apply the technologies created for the space program to medicine and other parts of the economy. He worked with some of the major pioneering universities in the United States, including Stanford University where the first CyberKnife System was created.
A few years ago, Jeff’s younger brother was diagnosed with prostate cancer and underwent surgery to remove the cancerous cells. Since his brother’s diagnosis, Jeff has been diligent in staying on top of his PSA testing. He continued to have a clean bill of health until a routine round of tests in November 2008. Jeff’s PSA results came back higher than normal and after a biopsy determined he had a Gleason score of 6, he was diagnosed with early-stage prostate cancer.
Jeff’s urologist at Overlook Hospital in Summit, New Jersey felt that surgery wasn’t a viable option for 72-year-old Jeff, and Jeff wasn’t interested in “watchful waiting.” Jeff was then offered three radiation treatment options: insert radioactive seeds into his prostate, conventional radiation therapy or CyberKnife radiosurgery.
“To me, I read these options as ‘slow, faster, fastest’ as far as treatment times go,” Jeff said.
Wanting to get rid of the cancer as quickly as possible, Jeff opted for CyberKnife radiosurgery.
Jeff underwent five CyberKnife treatments during the course of a week. As there are minimal to no side effects with CyberKnife treatments, Jeff was able to maintain his daily routine during his treatments, including daily rounds of golf.
“The treatment was wonderful. No side effects, no problems, and, per my urologist, no cancer,” said Jeff.
Today, Jeff is cancer-free and without the pressure of safely landing space shuttles, he is able to enjoy life and focus on improving his golf handicap.
As of the creation of this patient profile, Jeff found his CyberKnife treatment to be successful.
Antonio’s Story: Why I Recommend CyberKnife Not Surgery
For Prostate Cancer
Antonio says, “After watching my two brothers suffer tough side effects following prostate cancer surgery, I didn’t want to risk it happening to me so instead I chose non-invasive CyberKnife Radiation Therapy. I had 5 treatments over 10 days at the CyberKnife Center of Miami. The biggest surprise is how easy it was. Easier than I even thought possible. I had no bad side effects and went right back to work after each session, which only took about 20 minutes.”
Antonio is not alone. Here’s why many, many more men are choosing CyberKnife Radiation Therapy instead of surgery for Prostate Cancer:
CyberKnife has a 97% cure rate for prostate cancer.
It can be done in 5 radiation therapy sessions over 10 days compared to 42 over 3 months with other types of radiation treatments.
It’s just as effective, yet safe and much quicker, resulting in the least disruption to patients’ lives.
It’s noninvasive so there is no need for anesthesia or cutting. It’s done on an outpatient basis.
It has none of the risks that come with surgery, including infection, bleeding, and downtime.
The CyberKnife radiation beams which target and destroy only the tumor are so precise there’s less risk of side effects including impotence, incontinence, and sterility.
A big bonus with CyberKnife’s targeted radiation is men can go on to have children and that is a great gift for younger men and those wanting to start a family later in life, or a second family.
CyberKnife Miami’s Medical Director, Board Certified Radiation Oncologist Dr. Mark Pomper says, “Sterility is not a problem for men having CyberKnife Therapy, however it is a big problem for men undergoing standard radiation therapy and surgery for prostate cancer. They are advised to bank sperm if they want to have children in the future.” He adds, “There’s a general thought among surgeons that surgery is better for men under age 60 because radiation’s long-term effects may cause problems years later, like incontinence, impotence or sterility, but that’s not what research is proving. Surgery has long term effects too. CyberKnife has few side effects. Its pinpoint radiation beams hit only the tumor, dissolving it, so we can give a much higher dose with a lot fewer treatments, leaving healthy surrounding tissue unharmed. There’s over 20 years of published studies supporting the effectiveness and safety of CyberKnife for prostate cancer.”
Since the CyberKnife Center of Miami opened its doors in 2003 we have successfully treated thousands of patients, including those with prostate cancer.
They come from all walks of life, different backgrounds and ages with various stages of prostate cancer.
The one thing they all have in common when arriving is feeling anxious and uncertain about the disease and determining what is their best treatment option.
However, after meeting with our oncology team they’re more than ready to move forward, feeling confident about choosing CyberKnife Radiation Therapy over other types of treatments including other types of radiation therapy, robotic prostate cancer surgery or standard surgery.
Dr. Mark Pomper says, “Years of mounting research is proving CyberKnife to be the gold standard for treating prostate cancer and as more men learn about CyberKnife it is becoming the number one treatment of choice. If your doctor tells you, it’s not for you, go to a CyberKnife center and get a second opinion. Maybe it’s not the best treatment for you, but most of the time it is. CyberKnife is the most effective, safest and quickest way to treat prostate cancer so you can put it behind you and get on with your life.”
The radiation oncology team at CyberKnife Miami is the most experienced in Miami. Because we’ve been doing this the longest, we are not afraid take on even the most complicated and difficult cases. We believe everyone needs to be given a chance to beat cancer, even when they’re told there is no hope, we believe there always is hope and it’s worth a try. At the very least we may be able to buy you precious time and quality of life at the same time.
Call the CyberKnife Center of Miami if we can help you or a loved one 305-279-2900.
We’re happy to answer all your questions about prostate cancer and help you determine the best treatment option for your particular needs. Whether that’s CyberKnife or not.
Each case is different. It depends on the stage of your cancer and your overall health. Most prostate cancer patients however are good candidates for CyberKnife therapy.
Go to our prostate cancer website now for more information about how CyberKnife treats prostate cancer.
Keeping it all in the Family: Brother and Sister Mike and Liz’s CyberKnife Story
Mike and his sister Liz have always been close and there for each other, through the good times and bad, especially when both were diagnosed with cancer.
Mike was first. He was treated for prostate cancer at the CyberKnife Center of Miami. That was nearly a decade ago, and since then he tells everyone who will listen, “If you get cancer go to CyberKnife Miami to see if you’re a candidate for CyberKnife radiation therapy.”
Mike says, “It was five easy treatments, about 20 minutes each over ten days and I had absolutely no side effects, it didn’t slow me down at all and I haven’t had a problem since. I don’t feel any different today than before I had prostate cancer.”
Years later when his sister was diagnosed with colon cancer, he thought she too should go to CyberKnife Miami for treatment, but her doctor recommended surgery to remove the cancer and six months of chemotherapy.
Mike says, “I wasn’t going to be pushy, I told Liz, whatever you choose to do, I’m behind you, we’ll get through this together.”
Three years later a tumor showed up on her liver and it was surgically removed. Soon after that, a follow up scan revealed a mass in her pelvic area. The medical term for it is, an intrapelvic mass on a lymph node. Again the doctor recommended surgery and more chemo.
Liz said, “There’s no way I’m doing six months of chemo again, it was hell.”
Mike says this time I asked her doctor, “What about CyberKnife to treat her liver tumor because I knew his hospital had the technology, but he immediately said no. He didn’t say CyberKnife wouldn’t work for her, he just said no, go live your life, walked out, and slammed the door in our faces.”
That’s when Mike says, “I just snapped and took the bull by the horns and told Liz, that’s it you’re going to CyberKnife Miami and getting treated. A hospital closer to where Liz lives has CyberKnife too, but I insisted we go to CyberKnife Miami because they’re the best and most experienced team in town.”
Mike immediately called CyberKnife Miami, they reviewed Liz’s scans and were told CyberKnife was definitely an option for Liz and got her in right away to begin treatment.
Mike says, “I drove Liz there for her evaluation and everyone welcomed her and me again with open arms. I told Liz, you’re in good hands. I’d go to the end of the earth to get her to CyberKnife Miami, and she couldn’t have gotten a better result. I told Liz, CyberKnife was a lifesaver for me, and it will be for you too.”
CyberKnife Radiation Therapy, also known as Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy (SBRT) offers patients a non-invasive treatment option for both primary and metastatic liver cancer with great success. It is used to treat lesions in people who are not candidates for surgery, those who choose not to have surgery, or those who have failed or don’t want chemotherapy treatment.
CyberKnife Miami’s Medical Director and Board-Certified Radiation Oncologist, Dr. Mark Pomper says, “Treating liver cancer with traditional radiation therapy is not an option due to the sensitivity of liver tissue to radiation. CyberKnife’s tracking technology eliminates that risk. The system can continuously pinpoint and follow a tumor’s exact location as the patient breathes normally while on the treatment table, enabling hundreds of radiation beams to attack the tumor from all angles, leaving healthy tissue unharmed. It kills the tumor cells and over time the tumor disappears. If a tumor comes back or another one develops, we can often treat it again, even if it is close to the previously treated area.”
Liz says, “I had five CyberKnife treatments for the mass on my pelvic lymph node, and just like Mike, I didn’t have any side effects other than being tired. I also didn’t have much of an appetite, but Mike took me to breakfast after each treatment and I didn’t get sick or throw up like after chemo.”
“Everyone at CyberKnife Miami is just wonderful to work with,” says Liz. Mario Tobon the radiation therapist, Gail Suarez, she’s also a radiation therapist and vice president of operations. Maria Christina, who handles all the scheduling and insurance, was terrific, and of course Dr. Pomper, he takes his time with you, answers all your questions so you have no fear. You just know you’re in the right place and in the best hands. We tell everyone to go there.”
Gail Suarez says, “It’s not unusual from time to time to see other family members and friends of patients who’ve been treated here because they know CyberKnife works and we treat them the way they should be treated, with great respect and care. We hold their hand every step of the way to make the process as easy as possible, with the least disruption to their lives. Not just our patients but we also help their families feel as comfortable as possible. Liz has metastatic cancer, and she can keep coming back here any time if another tumor shows up.” Gail adds, “It’s too bad she didn’t come here for her liver tumor because we could have successfully treated that too and she wouldn’t have had to go through that second surgery. Any time you can avoid surgery and be treated non invasively, that’s a much easier and safer treatment option, without all the risks of surgery and the downtime you need to recover.”
Liz says, “Gail told me about one patient who’s been coming to CyberKnife Miami for 20 years. She also has metastatic cancer and if a tumor shows up, she comes back for another CyberKnife treatment. Dr. Pomper says there is a one-percent chance the cancer will come back. If it does, I’ll come right back here.”
She adds, “Knowing Mike had CyberKnife treatments and did so well, gave me a lot of confidence, but I thought how could this be, both of us had cancer and we both were treated at CyberKnife Miami. They were so good to me and are still good to Mike many years after he was treated there. We can’t say enough good things about them. CyberKnife saved me. If the cancer comes back and I can’t be treated with CyberKnife, I’ll live with it until God calls me home. I’ve got a lot to live for. I’ve got three children and six grandchildren. I look forward to everyday and being alive.”
Fly Me To The Moon And The CyberKnife
Center Of Miami
When diagnosed with prostate cancer at 92-years young, NASA astronaut and one of only 24 people who have flown to the Moon and back in record speed, Thomas Patten Stafford wasn’t going to take the ‘watchful waiting approach,’ which is considered conventional wisdom, especially for a man his age.
“I was told by several doctors that watch and wait was the way to go because at my age I was more likely to die of something other than prostate cancer, but I said that’s baloney, I want this taken care of ASAP.”
A smart reaction from this very practical and down to earth NASA astronaut, retired U.S. Air Force General and test pilot, who gives serious meaning to the catch phrase, “the need for speed.” The Commander of the 1969 Apollo 10 mission to the moon remains the fastest man alive on earth. He has logged nearly 521 hours in space, flying six rendezvous on four types of spacecrafts.
As commander of Apollo 10, he flew the first rendezvous around the moon and designated the first lunar landing site.
He was cited in the Guinness Book of World Records for the highest speed ever attained by a human.
“We made it back to earth from the moon in 42 hours, traveling through space at 24,791 miles per hour, or in Mach numbers, that’s Mach 36, and to be even more precise, that’s 0.0037% of the speed of light,” says Commander Stafford.
He adds laughing with a great sense of humor, “The only reason I’m the fastest man alive on earth is because all the other astronauts are dead.”
A primary goal of his Apollo 10 mission was to scout out landing locations and determine logistics for Apollo 11’s mission, which was America’s first landing and walk on the moon, hailed a great success.
But during his mission, an error in Apollo 10’s flight plan caused his Lunar Module to begin spinning out of control, traveling upside down and backwards. Commander Stafford was able to get it under control again and says, “The one thing people always ask me is were you scared? The answer is no. As astronauts, fighter and test pilots we knew what the risks were and we were prepared to do what needed to be done. We knew what all the procedures and tasks were, we just followed them.”
As a prostate cancer patient, Commander Stafford’s mission now was to get his disease and PSA score under control. His need for speed and precision is what he likes about CyberKnife’s technology.
“I had never heard of CyberKnife, but when my urologist told me it had a success rate north of 97-to-98 percent, those were odds I was willing to take. Plus, he said it could get rid of the cancer without surgery or downtime. And because CyberKnife’s beams deliver a more precise and powerful dose of radiation, your treatment is over and done with much faster, in much less time. I scouted out all my treatment options and discovered CyberKnife only required five radiation therapy sessions, one every other day for 10 days and you’re done, so to me there was no other choice. That’s much less time consuming than Proton Beam which requires about 35 treatments or other types of radiation that require 42 treatments, and there was a higher risk of side effects. So, I knew CyberKnife was the path I was going to take.”
While Stafford lives in Satellite Beach, FL, he says, “My urologist recommended I go to the CyberKnife Center of Miami for treatment and said he’d been sending patients there for more than a decade with great success. So I met with the medical crew right away, they explained everything clearly, made me feel so comfortable and without fear or hesitation I began treatment and am very glad I made the choice not to wait. It brought great peace of mind.”
CyberKnife Miami’s medical director and board-certified radiation oncologist, Dr. Mark Pomper says General Stafford made the right decision not to take the wait and see approach.
Dr. Pomper says, “Prostate cancer is a ticking time bomb. You want to kill it as soon as possible. While some prostate cancers are slow growing, many thought to be turn out being aggressive, which is why we don’t believe in watching and waiting at CyberKnife Miami. We say get it taken care of as soon as you can, so you don’t have to worry about it and play the guessing game. What if you’re wrong, and it turns out to be an aggressive cancer, then it becomes much more difficult to treat, much less cure.”
General Stafford says, “The treatment was so easy. The CyberKnife room was cool, dark and quiet. I went to sleep during it and afterwards, I had no side effects. It didn’t affect me in any way. Plus, the entire staff is so knowledgeable and helpful. Very first class. They make it a very good and easy experience for you. There’s nothing to it. I recommend it to other people all the time, in fact I asked them for brochures so I can share this technology and CyberKnife Miami with as many people as possible.”
While Commander Stafford admits that all his space travel has been hard on his body, he says he’d do it all over again, and should the cancer come back, he says, “I’m flying straight back to CyberKnife Miami.”
CyberKnife revolutionized cancer treatment, as Commander Stafford revolutionized space travel.
Commander Stafford says, “Back in the 60’s we were the first astronauts to do everything and had to figure it out along the way, but it was a lot of fun. We made up the rules as we went along and weren’t held down by red tape, like my fellow astronauts and fliers are today.
All of Apollo 10’s objectives were achieved, making way for a safe and successful landing on the moon for the Apollo 11 crew.
And all the Commander’s objectives concerning prostate cancer have been achieved. With prostate cancer behind him, Commander Stafford remains active in the world of space travel and aviation, and he is called upon often for his expertise and guidance. Another mission accomplished with great success!
As for the question, does he think we’re alone in this great big universe he says, “I can’t imagine that we are. As you travel through our massive space and you’re passing by galaxies, other planets, millions of stars and other things you don’t recognize, it’s hard to imagine that there wasn’t life out there before us, is now and will continue to be.”
Choosing CyberKnife Twice For Cancer Treatment
Hearing those dreaded words “you have cancer” just once is tough enough. Hearing it again years later is even worse. Both times, Clinton and Rhonda Ward said “there’s life in cancer.” They were determined to return to the CyberKnife Center of Miami to get treated and to share their CyberKnife technology experience in the hope of helping as many people as they can.
When Clinton was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2013 his doctor said, “If you were any other 78-year-old man I would say, let us not do anything. Let nature take its course because you will likely die of something else before you die of prostate cancer. But you are not your average elderly man, you are extremely active, healthy, with a young blended family and enjoys the pleasures of living so for you I recommend CyberKnife radiation therapy.”Clinton and his wife Rhonda had heard remarkable reviews and testimonies about treating cancer with CyberKnife, and it’s non-invasive and has a high cure rate.
Rhonda wanted to be sure and immediately began researching every prostate cancer treatment option available, because as she says, “Nothing but the best will do for Clinton.” After reading everything she could about surgery, chemotherapy, hormone therapy and other types of radiation treatments, they determined CyberKnife Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy would indeed be his best treatment option.
It requires only 5 radiation treatment sessions instead of 42 with other types of radiation and because of its missile guided, pinpoint accuracy, CyberKnife can deliver high doses of radiation beams which target the tumor site, leaving the surrounding areas unharmed. That greatly reduces the risk of side effects including impotence and incontinence. That was vital to both Clinton and Rhonda. But especially Clinton, because as Rhonda puts it, “He’s a strong, proud, virulent, southern Black man from Georgia and his natural manhood is crucial to him.”
The next step was finding the best cancer treatment center and doctor that used CyberKnife technology, so Rhonda called the company that manufactures CyberKnife, which is Accuray, located in California.
Rhonda says, “We were prepared to travel from Florida to California and stay as long as necessary for his treatment, but they told us, you don’t need to travel all the way here, there is an excellent CyberKnife center, with one of the most experienced teams right where you live in South Florida. It is called the CyberKnife Center of Miami located on Kendall Drive.”
Rhonda called CyberKnife Miami and as is standard procedure for this team of cancer experts, Clinton got in right away and began treatment.
The treatment was a success. Clinton and Rhonda spent the next decade living life to the fullest, as she says, “And I mean to the fullest in every way. The treatment did not affect Clinton physically nor intimately. All fears were laid to rest as many men fear.”
Rhonda says, “After his CyberKnife treatments I asked his doctor if he’s cured now and he said we’re doctors, we’re not God but you’re doing the right thing by choosing CyberKnife.” Clinton was treated by Dr. Mark Pomper, the medical director at CyberKnife Miami and a board-certified radiation oncologist. Dr. Pomper says, “There is always a chance the cancer can recur down the road. Typically, we do not see that happening, however Clinton had an intermediate risk of the cancer coming back because he had a high PSA score when he was diagnosed. We do the best we can, but we cannot diagnose microscopic disease. His PSA was over 14 so there is a greater chance it may come back. Plus, prostate cancer tends to be more aggressive in Black men.”
Fast forward 11 years and, sure enough, Clinton’s prostate cancer had metastasized. This time he had tumors in the bones of the lower pelvic and spine area.
Rhonda says, “Right away we asked Clinton’s other doctors about CyberKnife treatment and again we were told it would not help. But we knew it would and went right back to CyberKnife Miami and started treatment in January of 2023. Immediately we felt a sense of relief, it eased our stress knowing we were in the best hands.”
She adds, “The medical care and service they provide at CyberKnife Miami is excellent. Like none other. They treat you as if you are the most important person in the world. Like you are the president of the United States or leader of any country. Their bedside manner is excellent and so compassionate. Gail Suarez, the vice president of operations and radiation therapist is amazing, so knowledgeable, kind, and helpful. Radiation therapist Mario Tobon is just a Godsend. They are meticulous with your treatment plan. And Maria Kristina Borgen, who we spoke to first, scheduled our appointments and made the entire process as easy and simple as possible. No cancer center works with you like they do. And God bless that CyberKnife robot. After the second day of treatment, the pain Clinton felt from the tumors had already eased.”
Rhonda says, “Clinton’s 88 now and being married to an older man I cherish every moment and take nothing for granted. We celebrated 23 years of marriage and the CyberKnife treatments never affected him. He is still a vibrant man enthusiastic to have a meaningful way of living.
Clinton is on hormone therapy now to help stop the cancer from spreading and that of course is like a medical castration, but we had to balance the scales and choose intimacy or life, we choose life.”
“We have taken all the steps we can to target the cancer and he is doing great. Even his doctors, including his oncologist who told us CyberKnife would not work, are impressed with his results. Today his PSA level is less than 0.02 and his scan results are excellent. We were not expecting any more cancer, but we wasted no time getting back to CyberKnife Miami for treatment.”
Clinton’s twin brother was diagnosed with prostate cancer at the exact same time. Despite their efforts to persuade him to choose CyberKnife, he chose chemotherapy and died of prostate cancer 3 years later. Clinton and Rhonda believe he would be alive today had he been treated with CyberKnife.
Rhonda adds, “I do not have any stock in CyberKnife, but Clinton and I tell everyone about this technology. My friend’s son was just diagnosed with prostate cancer, and she said you are always talking about CyberKnife, tell me more and now her son is being treated with CyberKnife in Nashville. I am from the Bahamas and our Prime Minister died of prostate cancer it made me determine to share the experience of the excellence of Cyberknife treatments for prostrate and bone cancer. There must be a broader platform, others can help us spread the word.”
The good news is, as more people hear about CyberKnife cancer treatment, they are asking for and even demanding it. As more doctors learn about it, including those in medical school, they are recommending it.
There are more than 30 years of research proving CyberKnife’s safety and effectiveness, so the technology is becoming more readily available as more cancer centers are adding CyberKnife to their arsenal of cancer fighting tools.
As for Clinton’s prognosis, Dr. Pomper says, “He’s 88 and has multiple areas of metastatic disease, we can’t cure it, but we can slow it down and help him live longer and without pain.” Dr. Pomper adds, “If you saw him, you would be amazed. He is always perfectly dressed. He does not look frail or old he really looks good.”
Rhonda says, “I feel God has allowed my husband to go through cancer a second time to live and tell people about CyberKnife. We have much to be grateful for. This is a day of rejoicing and celebration. This cancer is stage 4 but when other doctors said CyberKnife will not help Clinton, and even family members and friends told us not to do it, I thought oh no, if he is going to die, we are going down trying, and we have no regrets. Our God is FAITHFUL with a capital G. We are not here forever but give me some extended years. You must find the right people, positive people like Dr. Pomper and his team at CyberKnife Miami who are going to work with you.”
To find out if CyberKnife cancer treatment can help you, call our team at 305-279-2900. Our promise is to get you treated as effectively, safely, quickly and easily as possible, and we do it with great compassion to our patients and their family. We will hold your hand every step of the way.
Just for fun take a look at this video on our YouTube Channel and see Rhonda, turn the camera on the CyberKnife team for a quick interview with Gail and Mario.
"Research proves CyberKnife is as effective as standard radiation using 5 treatments instead of 42 with few if any side effects."
- Medical Director Mark E. Pomper at CyberKnife Miami
CyberKnife Robotic Stereotactic Radiosurgery
Want to know more about the #1 prostate cancer treatment in Miami? This informative video will tell you how it works and what to expect.