Healthcare Industry News:  IMRT 

Devices Oncology

 News Release - August 6, 2007

Cancer 'Warrior' Chooses Gamma Knife(R) Surgery

ATLANTA, Aug. 6 (HSMN NewsFeed) -- Kim Vining of Atlanta doesn't look like a fierce warrior, but then looks can be deceiving. She is quick to laugh, particularly at herself. Even when the talk turns to her seven-year battle against cancer, she finds humor in what others might say is a serious situation.

"To me, the glass is always half full," Vining says with a smile. "I can either fight the cancer or roll over and pretend it's not there, and I refuse to roll over. I just couldn't do that to my family, my friends, or to myself."

Her battle began in October 2000, when Vining was diagnosed with a rare, very aggressive form of breast cancer called inflammatory breast cancer. "At the time, I was 37 years old, working out and lifting weights, and had never been sick a day in my life," Vining recalls.

The Cancer Spreads

She went to Piedmont Hospital and was treated with chemotherapy, surgery and radiation. "I was clean for one and a half years," she recalls. "Then I started coughing in January 2002." A biopsy and X-ray showed that the cancer had metastasized (moved to a new location in her body) to a lymph node in her chest.

The cancer also had traveled to her brain, where physicians found six brain metastases (mets). Vining underwent whole brain radiation therapy, which required five weeks of daily treatment. A year later, a scan showed all of her brain mets were gone.

"But the cancer wasn't gone," she says. "It's that evil." Over the past few years, the cancer was again found in her lungs, then in her back and hip. In between bouts, Vining went in for breast reconstruction and doctors discovered a different type of cancer in her other breast.

Quick and Easy Gamma Knife Surgery

Early in 2007, the cancer again recurred in her brain. This time Vining and her physician chose Gamma Knife surgery to treat the problem. She was able to have treatment one day, and return to normal activity with her family the next.

"It was so easy," enthuses Vining. "I was in and out in 24 hours. And while they were imaging me for the treatment, they found another spot, so they treated that at the same time."

"For a patient like Kim Vining, the ability to stop tumor growth with a gentle, non-invasive treatment is important," said James C. Robinson, M.D., chairman of neuroscience and medical director for the Gamma Knife at Piedmont Hospital. "Piedmont was the first hospital in the Southeast to introduce Gamma Knife surgery in 1989, and we've performed more than 2,100 procedures since then. We have continuously updated our center and in October of 2005, installed a completely new Gamma Knife which is the most up-to-date unit in our region."

Despite its name, there is no "knife" used during Gamma Knife surgery. This state-of-the-art radiosurgery has hundreds of radiation beams that converge on the cancer tumor with a level of accuracy of better than one-half of a millimeter, about the thickness of a few strands of hair. This is crucial in eliminating unnecessary radiation, leaving nearby healthy tissue undamaged. Local control provided by radiosurgery for the management of metastatic tumors in any brain location exceeds an average of 85 percent. There are newer types of radiosurgery delivery systems, but none that rival the accuracy of Gamma Knife, and none that can demonstrate its proven track record.

With the newer models of Gamma Knife, neurosurgeons can more easily plan and treat multiple metastases. Piedmont Hospital currently has one of the newest models available. Increasingly, neurosurgeons and their patients find Gamma Knife to be:

-- Safe - Unwanted radiation to the body is up to 100 times less than that of competing technologies by focusing the radiation at a high dose right on the tumor itself. Also, Gamma Knife treatment does not typically delay any other necessary cancer treatment.

-- Low impact - Planning and treatment are completed in a matter of hours during a single session, and the patient can return to their normal routine the next day.

-- Proven - Gamma Knife is the only radiosurgical device specifically cleared by the FDA for treatment of brain mets.

-- Effective - Gamma Knife radiosurgery has a more potent biologic effect on the tumor, usually more effective in a single treatment of several hours' duration, rather than five to six weeks of external radiation.

About Piedmont Hospital

Piedmont Hospital is a 458-bed acute tertiary care facility offering all major medical, surgical and diagnostic services. Located on 26 acres in the north Atlanta community of Buckhead, Piedmont is a private, not-for-profit organization with 3,700 employees and a medical staff of more than 900 physicians. Piedmont is a recipient of the 2007 and 2006 Distinguished Hospital Award for Patient Safety(TM) according to HealthGrades (a leading healthcare ratings company), as well as one of the nation's Most Wired hospitals for four consecutive years according to the 100 Most Wired Survey and Benchmarking Study.

About Elekta

Elekta is an international medical technology group, providing more than 4,000 hospitals worldwide with clinical solutions and comprehensive information systems for improved cancer care and management of brain disorders.

Elekta's flagship products include Leksell Gamma Knife® for intracranial stereotactic radiosurgery, Elekta Synergy® for advanced IMRT and IGRT using X-ray Volume Imaging, and the image guided Elekta Axesse(TM) system for extracranial stereotactic radiosurgery for spine and body. All of Elekta's solutions employ non-invasive or minimally invasive techniques and are therefore clinically effective, gentle on the patient and cost-effective. Elekta is listed on the Nordic Exchange under the ticker EKTAb and the company head office is located in Stockholm, Sweden.


Source: Elekta

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