When Lung Cancer Spreads to the Brain: Rhonda’s Story

Louisville CyberKnife recently treated metastatic lung cancer patient Rhonda R. using CyberKnife® technology. Read her story to find out more about her patient experience at our center:

Though Rhonda R. took her lung cancer diagnosis in stride, she wasn’€™t ready for the news that it had spread. Rhonda thought her treatment was complete after undergoing surgery to remove her primary cancer in the lungs, but continued to experience symptoms.

€They did all the testing, but I was still having issues so they actually went back in and surgically did a biopsy. That’€™s when I found out that it was definitely cancer that had spread,€ she said.
It was determined that Rhonda’€™s cancer had spread from her lungs to the brain, which ranks as one of the most common sites for lung cancer to spread. Louisville CyberKnife physician Dr. Neal Dunlap recommended stereotactic radiosurgery with CyberKnife to Rhonda to reduce treatment impact on her quality of life.

€œIn a setting where someone has limited brain disease, CyberKnife offers a great alternative to standard radiation to the brain. Typically we would recommend treating the entire brain, which adds to increased side effects for a person, especially in their cognitive abilities, Dr. Dunlap said. €œSo you lose some of your short-term memory, you have significant fatigue, but what CyberKnife allowed us to do was pinpoint the radiation to the tumors in the brain so that she can go on and live a very functional life.

After experiencing chemotherapy, traditional radiation therapy and surgery to treat her primary cancer, CyberKnife offered Rhonda reduced treatment and recovery time. Rhonda was treated within five outpatient treatment sessions and was able to return to her normal routine immediately.

€œCyberKnife is definitely the least painful out of everything and it doesn’€™t have really any side effects. I would highly recommend it,€ she said.

This is not intended as medical advice to replace the expertise and judgment of your health care team. It is intended to help you and your family make informed decisions, together with your doctor.