Park Ridge CyberKnife clinic offers new way of treating cancer
Radiation therapist Matt Lees, left, Dr. Arica Hirsh, Dr. Majid Mohiuddin and radiation therapist Scott Withrow are among the staff of Illinois CyberKnife in Park Ridge. | Joel Lerner~Sun-Times Media
NAME: Illinois CyberKnife
ADDRESS: 1700 Luther Ln., Park Ridge
SPECIALTY: Non-surgical cancer treatment
Updated: December 12, 2012 8:16AM
PARK RIDGE — Oscar Schnetzer, 85, is now cancer-free and says he owes it all to Illinois CyberKnife in Park Ridge.
Like many other cancer patients, Schnetzer was referred to Illinois CyberKnife at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital to treat his inoperable lung cancer. After only five, one-hour sessions, Schnetzer is happy to say that he’s tumor free.
Illinois CyberKnife recently celebrated its one-year anniversary and has treated about 160 patients during that time. It is located at 1700 Luther Ln. in Park Ridge.
“It’s a very sophisticated technology that offers precise delivery of radiation,” shared Dr. Arica Hirsch, medical director of radiology oncology at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital.
She added: “Biologically it has a much greater effectiveness on the tumor itself.”
Some of the most common types of conditions treated at Illinois CyberKnife in the past year ere lung tumors, spinal tumors and brain tumors. Brain tumors make up 40 percent of the cases at the clinic.
The procedure, which uses a robotic arm delivering high-energy, targeted radiation, is noninvasive, side effects are minimal and there is no need for a stay at the hospital, according to Hirsch.
“Side effects are less because we’re really treating such a scant amount of normal surrounding tissue,” she explained.
Hirsch said what would take six to nine weeks of regular radiology may only take three to five treatments at Illinois CyberKnife due to advancements in technology.
She added that patients of all ages are candidates for this new form of radiology.
“This gives hope to people when there was no hope,” said Schnetzer who found that he responded well to the treatment, with some fatigue as the only side effect.
“It’s people like him that really encourage me,” said Hirsch.
Normally Hirsch said lung cancer patients could experience a cough, shortness of breath and swallowing issues after being treated with conventional radiology.
Illinois CyberKnife also treats patients with other conditions, such as trigeminal neuralgia, a rare nerve disorder, in only one visit without any surgery or recovery needed.
“A lot of these patients aren’t always the healthiest patients,” said Hirsch. “They can’t go through surgery.”
Hirsch said this procedure doesn’t disrupt patients’ quality of life or daily activities because it is an outpatient service.
“It’s advanced so much in the last two to three years,” she said of the technology.