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One Vet’s Choice: CyberKnife for Prostate Cancer

One Vet’s Choice: CyberKnife for Prostate Cancer

When Army veteran Leonard Knotoff was diagnosed with prostate cancer last year, his doctor told him he had a few options, including cutting it out and using medication to treat it. Mr. Knotoff wanted to attack the tumor aggressively, but he also wanted to try to avoid side effects. So he chose CyberKnife Robotic Radiosurgery system—a powerful but non-invasive form of radiation therapy. “It was incredible,” Mr. Knotoff says. “It worked, and the side effects were less than a bee sting. I wish every vet knew about it.”

If you’re diagnosed with cancer, here are five things Mr. Knotoff would like you to know about CyberKnife Robotic Radiosurgery.

It’s powerful. The CyberKnife Robotic Radiosurgery system uses advanced technology to target a tumor with a high dose of radiation, while its pinpoint accuracy minimizes radiation exposure to healthy tissue. “For the right patient, studies show that radiosurgery is just as effective as surgery,” says radiation oncologist Richard Byrnes, MD, Medical Director of CyberKnife of Long Island. CyberKnife is a good option for any early prostate cancer and select intermediate-grade cancers, says Dr. Byrnes, who treated Mr. Knotoff.

It’s gentle. Never mind the name—CyberKnife involves no cutting. There’s no anesthesia, no hospital stay, and no pain. That can be a big plus for vets who have put a lot of demands on their bodies already, and who may be older or have other conditions that make surgery difficult. “It’s good to have a treatment that doesn’t beat you up,” Mr. Knotoff says. “You don’t feel anything. The staff would put on whatever music I wanted—they were incredible—and sometimes I dozed off during treatment.”

It’s easy. Treatment with CyberKnife Robotic Radiosurgery takes just an hour a day for five days in an easy-in, easy-out office setting. The sessions fit right into Mr. Knotoff’s life as a commercial fisherman off Long Island. In fact, the 72-year-old felt energetic enough to get out on the water to fish several times during treatment, waking up at 2 a.m. so he could get to CyberKnife of Long Island for his afternoon sessions. 

It’s not just for prostate cancer. CyberKnife is an effective option for a number of cancer types besides prostate cancer, including lung cancer, brain tumors, pancreatic cancer and more. It’s also very successful against trigeminal neuralgia, an excruciatingly painful condition of one of the major nerves in the head.

It’s available to vets. CyberKnife of Long Island participates in the Veterans Choice Program, which makes it easy to access this cutting-edge treatment. To find out if it’s an option for you, talk to your Veterans’ Affairs physician or coordinator—or, if you have questions, call CyberKnife of Long Island to talk with one of the veterans on staff. Mr. Knotoff asked his VA doctor for a referral. “I was approved by the time I got to the parking lot,” he says.

To learn more about prostate cancer treatment with CyberKnife, contact Dr. Byrnes at CyberKnife of Long Island at (631) 253-1096.

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