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BREAST CANCER

Karen Fry, 60, an administrator at UC Santa Cruz, was running out of options in her battle against metastatic breast cancer. A new tumor located in the sacrum, or upper part of the pelvis, was causing intense pain that was spreading and interfering with her ability to walk. She had received conventional radiation therapy treatments for the new tumor at another facility, which precluded the doctors at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation (PAMF) from re-treating of the area with conventional radiation techniques.

“They were worried about causing irrevocable damage to the spinal nerves and other organs like my bladder and bowel,” Fry said. “My situation was very serious. The organs around the tumor couldn’t tolerate any more radiation, and so the treatments had to be focused very precisely. Honestly, this felt like my last shot at being treated. But as they were describing what Novalis Tx can do, the clinicians at PAMF projected a positive, can-do attitude that really helped to restore my hopes for a positive outcome.”

Fry’s treatment was completed over a five-day period, in daily sessions that each took only about 20 minutes to complete. “After the first four sessions, I felt well enough to go back to work,” added Fry. “On the last day of treatment, which fell on a Saturday, I left the center and was able to go on with my usual weekend activities.”


Christina Crum, 44, was not having success with chemotherapy and her breast cancer had metastasized to multiple sites within her body. She then received a one week course of stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT) via Novalis Tx to treat a metastatic growth in her right lung, and later, treated another tumor on one of her ribs.

Crum maintained an active lifestyle during her treatments, stating, “I continued teaching my yoga and water aerobics classes all over Jacksonville (Florida)—sometimes even before and after treatment. Unlike traditional surgery, in my case radiosurgery didn’t lay me up at all. It was a great relief to know that another form of therapy was available that wouldn’t keep me from going on with my everyday life.”

“Christina’s treatments had to be especially precise,” said Dr. Sonja Schoeppel, radiation oncologist, Baptist Cancer Institute. “Her tissues and organs were extremely delicate due to earlier rounds of chemotherapy and radiation. Novalis Tx radiosurgery technology enables us to shape the beam with precision so we can avoid the surrounding anatomy. This has been great for Christina. Other treatment options just weren’t working for her.”