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Advanced Cancer Treatment Brings New Hope to Michigan Patient

Beginning next week, thousands of Michigan patients will have a new -- virtually pain free -- defense in the fight against cancer. Saint Joseph Mercy Health System (SJMHS) announced today it will begin treating patients with the CyberKnife(R) Robotic Radiosurgery System on Wednesday, June 6th.

This advanced radiosurgery system non- invasively treats cancers anywhere in the body, including previously inoperable tumors, with astounding accuracy and with little to no discomfort. As the only hospital in Michigan to offer CyberKnife, St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Ann Arbor expects to draw patients from across the state who are seeking new hope in their cancer treatment.

'I've waged an ongoing battle with brain and lung cancer for the past six months, experimenting with traditional radiation treatments and exploring all my options', said Elizabeth Newhouse of Ypsilanti, Mich. 'I researched other radiosurgical treatments, but was petrified when the procedures were explained to me along with the stress and discomfort they would cause.

I heard about CyberKnife from a friend and was immediately encouraged by the possibility of a virtually painless, comfortable treatment option that would allow me to carry on with my daily life and avoid spending another night in the hospital. With all that cancer patients go through, CyberKnife is simply a much easier alternative that has renewed my hope in beating this disease'.

One of the most innovative features of the CyberKnife technology is the capability of robotic radiosurgery to deliver targeted treatment to areas that move due to breathing -- such as the lung, prostate, pancreas, liver, and kidney -- minimizing damage to surrounding healthy tissues.

It is the first system in the world that is specifically designed to treat tumors anywhere in the body with sub-millimeter accuracy, without limiting the patient's mobility during treatment. Image guidance and computer controlled robotics combine to continuously track, detect and correct for tumor and patient movement throughout the treatment. Because of this approach, extreme precision and accuracy is possible without the need for a head or body frame as is required with other radiosurgery treatment systems.

The additional patient benefits from the CyberKnife System are significant. It can be used for inoperable tumors, and the treatment is performed on an outpatient basis. CyberKnife can also treat multiple tumors at different locations in the body during a single treatment session. Patients with cancer pain routinely experience dramatic relief after receiving CyberKnife treatments and have a shorter treatment time and faster recovery period than traditional methods.

The response from the community since announcing the acquisition of CyberKnife earlier this year has been very positive', said Dr. Walter Sahijdak, radiation oncologist, Saint Joseph Mercy Health System. 'St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Ann Arbor will house one of only 50 CyberKnife units in the country and one of 70 worldwide, so until now access to treatment has been extremely limited. Patients and their families will all benefit from having this new line defense in the fight against cancer right here in Michigan'.

St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Ann Arbor is among a growing number of elite hospitals in the country to incorporate the $4 million CyberKnife System as an essential tool in its cancer treatment process. SJMHS is the first health care system in the state of Michigan to offer the CyberKnife System to patients.


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