Treating Prostate Cancer with CyberKnife Technology: Phil’s Story

At his annual physical in the spring of 2016, Phil Van Ostrand’s primary care physician told him that his PSA (Prostate-Specific Antigen) level was elevated. The 72-year-old Woodcreek, Texas resident was not too alarmed, he had heard this news before.

“I had struggled with intermediate and high PSA levels off and on for several years,” said Van Ostrand. “It was generally diagnosed as prostatitis and aggressively treated with antibiotics until the PSA level went back down.”

Phil’s PCP told him that his PSA had jumped back up again and he was starting to get concerned because every time it went up and back down again, the final number was a higher low. He referred Phil to an in-house urologist who ordered a biopsy and the result came back positive for prostate cancer.

The urologist was ready to move forward with surgery, but Phil was not. He talked with his PCP and his physician let him know that he did not have to have surgery, he had options. Van Ostrand felt that the “future that the urologist offered with surgery was unacceptable, so they were done.”

Once Van Ostrand decided that surgery was not the right treatment option for him, he took some time to think about his next step. He self-referred himself to two oncology practices where he was offered surgery (again) or conventional radiation therapy, which consisted of over 30 office visits that did not work with his busy travel schedule. It was back to more research for Van Ostrand.

“As part of my research online, I had come across stereotactic radiation therapy,” Van Ostrand said. “I like what I read and wanted to learn more about it, so I made an appointment with Dr. Ghafoori at Austin CyberKnife.”

Van Ostrand met with Paiman Ghafoori, M.D., a board-certified radiation oncologist at Austin CyberKnife, and learned that he treated prostate cancer with Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy, or SBRT, with the CyberKnife® Robotic Radiosurgery System, a painless, non-invasive treatment technology in which high-dose radiation was delivered to the tumor from a linear accelerator mounted on a highly maneuverable robotic arm. Hundreds of different angles enabled the radiation to be contoured to the shape of the prostate, resulting in treatment aimed directly to the prostate gland, avoiding nearby critical anatomy. This precision reduced treatment time to just five outpatient visits, compared to the average 45 visits conventional radiation therapy required.

“After speaking with Dr. Ghafoori, I decided that the stereotactic approach was the right one for me,” said Van Ostrand. “My lack of patience is legendary, so the fact that the appointments were quick and would not consume a lot of time appealed to me. I also liked that the efficiency of the treatments was well documented and the location of the center was convenient.”

After Dr. Ghafoori completed Mr. Van Ostrand’s treatment plan, and the office worked with his schedule, his first CyberKnife treatment was booked.

Van Ostrand’s treatment plan included five CyberKnife treatment sessions that lasted about an hour each. He recalls the treatments being quick and easy.

“At no time during the course of treatment did I have any after effects,” said Van Ostrand. “Treatments were a breeze and I worked full days every day of treatment. My experience with the whole treatment regime was a non-event.”

In addition to his CyberKnife treatments being rather easy, Van Ostrand noted that Dr. Ghafoori and the entire multidisciplinary staff at Austin CyberKnife were outstanding and he appreciated them working with his schedule. He also commented on the ease of getting in and out of Austin CyberKnife for his treatments. He appreciated the center’s close proximity to the complimentary parking garage.

Today, Phil Van Ostrand says he feels fantastic and is enjoying life. He continues to receive good reports regarding his PSA levels and he has celebrated his second anniversary of being cancer free.

When asked if he would recommend Austin CyberKnife to others facing a cancer diagnosis, Mr. Van Ostrand replied, “Absolutely. I am very happy with the decision I made to go with CyberKnife and I would definitely suggest it to anyone searching for treatment options for prostate cancer.”