Medical Minute 3-4: Surviving the Deadliest Cancer

By: Casey Taylor Email
By: Casey Taylor Email

It kills more people than any other cancer. It takes more lives than breast, prostate and colon cancer combined. So how did a group of women go from hearing, "You have lung cancer," to, "You're cancer-free?"

" When you first hear, 'You have cancer,' you don't expect to get over it like I did," said Frances Nirich.

Frances Nirich is one of about 55,000 people who are told they're too sick, too old or too weak for surgery to remove the tumor. She enrolled in a study to see if the cyber- knife can help those who can't go under a real knife.

"While you're radiating a tumor that moves, you can hit it with millimeter precision," said Brian Collins, M.D., Radiation Oncologist.

The device shoots radiation into the tumor without harming the rest of the lungs even as the patient breathes in and out. A five-year study found cyber-knife destroyed 95% of tumors. The three-year survival rate is 80%. A big difference from traditional radiation, which destroys 30% of tumors and carries a 30% survival rate. It destroyed all of Frances' cancer.

Lung cancer patient Jennifer Hoppock didn't want to go through major surgery either.

"We're now using smaller, keyhole incisions and telescopes with long instruments," said Michael Smith, M.D., Thoracic Surgeon.

Instead of an eight-inch incision between the ribs, surgeons make a few inch-long incisions and use a camera and video screen to find the tumor.

Two lung cancer patients-turned survivors thanks to technology that's helping turn the grim statistics around.

For more information: Ivanhoe Broadcast News2745 W. Fairbanks Ave.Winter Park, FL 32789http://www.ivanhoe.comJulie Marks, Supervising Producer of Prescription: Healthjmarks@ivanhoe.comDirect Line: (407) 691-1500Viewer Line: (407) 740-0789 ext. 579

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