Q&A: Prostate Cancer Survivor Explains What It’s Really Like Undergoing Groundbreaking New Cancer Treatment
After being diagnosed with early stage prostate cancer, Roddie Williams and his wife searched up and down for a treatment option that would both allow him to keep working and avoid many of the burdensome side effects associated with cancer treatment. However, it wasn’t until his son, who lives across the country, mentioned CyberKnife that Williams realized there was a pain-free, noninvasive radiosurgery option that could be either used alone or in conjunction with other treatments. After researching CyberKnife and visiting Havertown’s Philadelphia CyberKnife, Williams is now cancer-free. Today, he sat down with us to share his experience.
What brought you to Philadelphia CyberKnife?
Actually, what happened is that my wife saw it on TV and I have a son who lives in San Francisco, California and works at Stanford University Hospital. We had been looking all around to figure out what the options were and we talked to the hospital about radiation and we talked to the doctor. They gave me three options: radiation for 9 weeks (everyday treatment), brachytherapy, and surgery. I thought, “Wait a minute, this is very confusing.” And so my son called and said there’s this [treatment] called CyberKnife and asked if I heard about them. I said [I hadn’t]. My wife researched it and we realized they had one in Havertown. So, I went over there and I talked to Dr. Lamond, Dr. Arrigo and Nurse, Michael Good and they explained to me how it was going to happen.
With various options available, what made you ultimately pick CyberKnife?
It was the option I was hoping to find. No invasive surgery, no downtime and no harsh side effects. It was the best thing that’s happened to me in my life.
What was your experience with the treatment like?
You lie down on what’s like a cot, and there’s a robotic machine above you. You put on earphones and you can listen to any kind of music you like. I listened to The Temptations and Marvin Gaye [laughs].
You also mentioned that there’s no downtime. What, specifically, did that mean for you?
To be honest with you, I was working the whole time [throughout treatment]. They would schedule it three days on one week and two days the next week. If it was in the evenings, I would work a half-day and then I would go to CyberKnife. I didn’t miss one day of work.
CyberKnife is also touted for being pain-free. Did you experience any discomfort?
Nope! You don’t feel anything. You don’t even know it’s happening. After my last treatment, I did have a few side effects, but it was nothing to write home about.
How many treatments did you ultimately need to complete to treat your prostate cancer?
Five sessions and they were each an hour long.
Do you have any parting words to share about your experience?
The great thing about all of it is that it didn’t take anything away from me. It left me complete, if you know what I’m saying. It left me whole and I’m just as good as before it happened.
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This is not intended as a substitute for medical advice from your professional healthcare provider. Contact your professional healthcare provider to find out if CyberKnife® is right for you.This is a paid partnership between Philadelphia Cyberknife and Philadelphia Magazine's City/Studio