CyberKnife Restores Mother's Hearing and Preserves Grandfather's Active Lifestyle

Vol. 16, No. 3
Summer/Fall 2006

  • Scoliosis Patient Stands Taller after Complex Surgeries

  • Winthrop Specialists Named to Top Doctors List

  • Renovation Project Extended Thanks to Senator Balboni

  • Winthrop Opens Beautifully Expanded Admitting Office

  • ER & Cardiac Team's Exceptional Response Time Saves Father of Two

  • Winthrop Plays Major Role in County-Wide Emergency Preparedness Drill

  • Winthrop's Department of Pediatrics Admitted to Prestigious National Association

  • Don't let obesity take you from them

  • Cancer Survivor's Inspiring "Mask of Courage" Evokes Hope

  • Winthrop Appoints Board of Directors Chairman

  • Former Winthrop President Passes Away

  • CyberKnife Restores Mother's Hearing and Preserves Grandfather's Active Lifestyle

  • Winthrop Introduces Toilet-Training Program

  • Winthrop First LI Hospital to Pioneer Use of Advanced Physician Order Entry Technology

  • Citigroup Foundation and Garden City Family Support Cancer Center for Kids

  • Charlie's Champions Rally in Support of Cancer Center for Kids

  • Horticultural Therapy Program Branches Out Thanks to Fidelity Investments

  • West Islip Family Thanks Pediatric Center

  • Garden City Second Grader Dedicates Birthday to Young Patients

  • Jets Fans' Contributions Benefit Pediatric Patients

  • Kids for Care Hosts Dinner Supporting Pediatric ER Patients

  • Diabetes Education Center Partners with American Idol Celebrity for Important Discussion

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  • The Loguidice family enjoying vacation after Judy ended CyberKnife treatment just days before.

    "Not one day goes by that I don't thank God for CyberKnife. My life will never be the same again."
    - Judy Loguidice

    Waking up with a horrible head cold couldn't keep Judy Loguidice--a 31-year-old Setauket mother of three young boys--from enjoying every moment of her hectic home life. Taking over-the-counter cold medicine, Mrs. Loguidice expected the symptoms to pass in a few days. Things only got worse. The next day she couldn't hear out of her left ear. "I felt like I was on a plane and my ear wouldn't pop," she explained.

    She immediately made an appointment with her primary care physician, who began treating her for what he suspected was a sinus infection. She felt a bit better, but hadn't regained her hearing.

    She was then referred to an ear, nose and throat specialist, who determined the problem was not a sinus infection. The next step: an MRI that revealed an acoustic neuroma, a tumor the size of a golf ball at the base of her brain, which was affecting the nerve that controlled her hearing.

    "I never thought it would be a brain tumor," she said. "I cried for weeks. It was a horrible time in my life."

    A glimmer of hope emerged with news the tumor was considered 99.9% benign. "Right away, I started to research and question everything," she explained.

    X-ray images keep CyberKnife radiation in focus, making it more precise and accurate than other treatments.

    One doctor told Mrs. Loguidice about Gamma Knife(R)--a non-surgical procedure utilizing a single dose of gamma radiation to treat tumors, vascular malformations and other benign and malignant brain lesions. The downside: under local anesthetic, a metal head frame would have to be screwed into her skull to prevent movement and guide the beams toward the treatment site.

    Another physician recommended brain surgery that could result in possible facial paralysis and the inability to walk again without rehabilitation. She could not see facing these risks, coupled with the expected month-long recovery, with three boys at home.

    As Mrs. Loguidice weighed her options, her mother sent her an article she had read about the new CyberKnife(R) treatment available at Winthrop.

    CyberKnife is an outpatient stereotactic radiosurgery that, through the use of a sophisticated image guidance system, delivers extraordinarily accurate and powerful radiation beams to previously unreachable and untreatable tumors throughout the body.

    CyberKnife utilizes computerized x-ray cameras to pinpoint the tumor's location, size and shape; track its position and keep the radiation beams on target, even as a patient breathes or moves. There is no need for a rigid head frame so the outpatient treatment is painless, bloodless, and usually allows patients to resume normal activities soon thereafter.

    For Mrs. Loguidice, another door of hope opened. "I didn't care if I had to go out of state or anywhere in the U.S. to receive this treatment," she said, "but thankfully Winthrop had CyberKnife." She contacted Elaine Montchal, RN, CyberKnife Coordinator, who outlined the procedure and answered all of her questions before scheduling a consultation with Alan Katz, MD, Chief of the Division of Radiation Oncology.

    "I was so relieved when Dr. Katz told me I was a good candidate," she said. "It's so much better than the other options; you don't have to wear a head frame screwed onto your head as with Gamma Knife. CyberKnife is the way to go."

    Over the course of one week in March, Mrs. Loguidice underwent three 45-minute sessions that significantly shrank the tumor, relieving pressure on the nerve. Finishing the treatment on Friday, she was on a plane to Florida two days later for a much-needed family vacation.

    "I have my hearing back now; it's a night-and-day difference," she said. "Now, all I have to do is go for an MRI every year."

    "Her recovery is incredible, an outstanding example of how CyberKnife can effectively treat tumors precisely, anywhere in the body, while sparing surrounding tissues," explained Dr. Katz.

    "Not one day goes by that I don't thank God for CyberKnife," she said. "I think my life will never be the same again. I count my blessings, and I am now enjoying the summer with my kids."

    CyberKnife has gone beyond revolutionizing brain radiosurgery. Considered the gold standard, the treatment, which received FDA approval in 1999, has also transformed radiosurgeries of the spine and soft tissue tumors, including in the lungs, kidneys, liver, pancreas and prostate.

    David Taub and his wife, Mireille, enjoy a walk along the Bay of Fundy during a recent vacation to Nova Scotia.

    David Taub, a 74-year-old grandfather of three, learned about CyberKnife after he was diagnosed with prostate cancer in early 2006.

    Mr. Taub's path to wellness began with a visit to his urologist, who injected hormones to treat the malignancy. That was followed by five weeks of daily radiation sessions at Winthrop.

    Under the care of Dr. Katz, it was suggested that Mr. Taub's therapy could be supplemented with CyberKnife treatment, which in addition to being a primary treatment for prostate cancer, is also considered for tumors that have already received maximum-allowed radiation.

    "CyberKnife is a great option for prostate cancer patients because it's more precise and more accurate than other treatments," explained Dr. Katz. "There are far fewer side effects, including a shorter treatment time, no scarring, and most importantly, CyberKnife has less potential side affects such as incontinence and impotence."

    After speaking to the staff and doing research, Mr. Taub felt that he was where he belonged. Looking forward to resuming his retirement and relaxed lifestyle, he embraced the treatment plan. In early April Mr. Taub underwent three CyberKnife treatment sessions.

    "The physicians went above and beyond, and the staff was kind, compassionate and very professional," he said. "They are good people who were concerned about my welfare.

    "CyberKnife is a great option for prostate cancer patients because it's more precise and more accurate than other treatments."
    - Alan Katz, MD

    "I, like many people, am private, and they always treated me with courtesy," Mr. Taub explained. "Dr. Katz treated me like a friend. He kept me informed along the way and was very respectful."

    Following treatment, he felt well enough to travel to Nova Scotia for vacation. "I was able to drive four to five hours at a clip comfortably," he explained.

    "Today, my life is good," he added. "I am less tired in the evening and I am regaining my strength."

    To provide the most comprehensive care, the CyberKnife program at Winthrop's Institute for Cancer Care utilizes a multidisciplinary team of surgical oncologists, neurosurgeons, radiation and medical oncologists, radiation therapists, physicists, diagnostic radiologists, technicians, nurses and other specialists who review and evaluate each patient's condition. After determining that CyberKnife is an appropriate treatment option, this highly skilled group customizes a treatment plan to meet the needs of each individual patient.

    For more information about CyberKnife, or to schedule a consultation, call 1-866-WINTHROP or visit

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