When Rosalind Cohen, an 84-year-old retired government worker, was in a car accident in 2013, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. She was rushed to Mather Hospital for a suspected fractured pelvis. However imaging studies revealed she had a hematoma and something else—a spot on the right lower lobe of her lung. Rosalind was advised to consult with a pulmonologist.
In her follow up exam, a CT scan showed the spot on her lung was getting bigger. Pulmonologists Dr. Daniel Baram and Dr. Yuval Hiltzik concluded that Rosalind had lung cancer.
Initially, Rosalind underwent lung resection surgery. For the next few years, her pulmonologist monitored her. In 2018 another spot appeared on her lower left lobe. She then had another surgery to remove a small wedged-shape piece of lung tissue on the left side.
Six months later Rosalind was informed that the cancer metastasized to the top of her adrenal gland. Her pulmonologist referred her to Dr. David Chu, a medical oncologist affiliated with New York Cancer & Blood Specialists.
After weighing her treatment options, Dr. Chu advised that she treat the adrenal gland with CyberKnife radiotherapy. This non-invasive treatment uses highly targeted radiation therapy to treat cancerous and non-cancerous tumors. While Rosalind was nervous since she didn’t know much about CyberKnife, she was glad that there was another option besides more surgery or chemotherapy.
Rosalind began her CyberKnife treatments in the fall of 2019 with Dr. Joseph Cirrone, a radiation oncologist with Precision CyberKnife of New York. From the moment she entered the building, she said she felt at ease with the supportive and welcoming staff.
“CyberKnife was wonderful. They made me feel comfortable and answered any questions I had about treatment. I have nothing but good things to say about my experience,” Rosalind explained.
Rosalind went for three treatments at CyberKnife, with each session lasting about 50 minutes.
“I couldn’t believe how easy it was. I just laid there and listened to music. It felt like I was in a spy movie with the laser beams around me,” she remarked. “The whole process was phenomenal. First of all, it was not surgery. Second, there was no discomfort. The only side effect I had was feeling a little sleepy.”
After completing her treatments, Rosalind has had check-ups with Dr. Cirrone every six months.
“I remember about a year later at a check-up, there was a woman waiting next to me in the lobby who seemed anxious. I reassured her that there was no reason to be nervous…the process is easy, comfortable, and has hardly any side effects,” Rosalind said.
A few years have passed since Rosalind’s treatment and she’s doing great. She’s grateful for the car accident that enabled her cancer to be found earlier and for the team at CyberKnife who used advanced targeted radiation to attack her cancer.
“It wasn’t really on my bucket list to have to go in for another surgery or have chemo, so I was relieved this was an option. Knowing that my cancer can be treated with CyberKnife was a windfall.”
Today, Rosalind loves to spend her free time with her children and friends, going to see shows in the city, and playing Mahjong.