1. August 22, 2013
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Sarah Tiambeng, Zehnder Communications, (504) 962-3731, email@example.com
St. Louis CyberKnife Patient Treated For Rare Nerve Disorder Shares Experience
Fenton-based cancer treatment center provides nonsurgical treatment for trigeminal neuralgia
ST. LOUIS – St. Louis CyberKnife is now using stereotactic radiosurgery to treat patients with a rare
and debilitating nerve disorder called trigeminal neuralgia (TN).
While the Facial Pain Association estimates only one in 15,000 people suffer from TN, it can often be
misdiagnosed as a dental problem due to the characteristics of the excruciating facial pain the
disease causes. TN occurs when a blood vessel compresses the fifth cranial nerve, one of the largest
in the head, making everyday activities like chewing, talking or swallowing a potential pain trigger.
Thankfully for St. Louis CyberKnife patient Mary Stanley, a family member was already familiar with
TN and helped her identify the cause of her pain much sooner. Doctors initially prescribed Stanley
medication, but it did little to ease her pain. She began to consider other treatment options after the
unbearable pain led her to the emergency room.
“The pain is almost indescribable,” Stanley said. “When the doctor told me I would be a good
candidate for CyberKnife treatment, I was immediately interested because I experienced side effects
with pain medication, and I liked that I would not need a surgical procedure for this treatment.”
Though primarily used to treat benign and malignant tumors throughout the body, St. Louis
CyberKnife’s technology has the ability to directly target the source of pain without incision. During
treatment, high doses of precisely focused radiation are delivered to the affected nerve.
“I was a little nervous because I had never had a procedure like CyberKnife before, but the staff at St.
Louis CyberKnife is very knowledgeable and made me comfortable,” Stanley said. “After experiencing
TN pain that felt like it was so bad no one could understand it, I appreciated the St. Louis CyberKnife
staff working to return me to my daily routines.”
Stanley was treated in a single session completed within one hour, which is the typical standard
CyberKnife treatment for TN patients. She said her pain subsided in a few weeks following treatment.
“TN is sometimes called the ‘suicide disease’ because of the intensity of pain that leads some
patients to take their lives,” said St. Louis CyberKnife medical director Dr. David Morris. “It is
rewarding to see patients who have required hospitalization due to their pain undergo one CyberKnife
treatment and subsequently come off medications and return to their former activities.”
Though TN does not have a cure, stereotactic radiosurgery can reduce or eliminate pain in 65 to 85
percent of patients, according to clinical studies.
2. “I would definitely recommend CyberKnife to relieve TN pain,” Stanley said. “It is such a relief to be
able to eat and drink cold foods and beverages again. After my treatment, I even had an ice cream
In addition to treating trigeminal neuralgia, St. Louis CyberKnife treats malignant and benign tumors
in the brain, lung, spine, lung, liver, pancreas, kidney and orbit of the eye. Brain and lung tumors
comprise the majority of treatments at the center.
St. Louis CyberKnife is a service of SSM Cancer Care at St. Clare Health Center and is located at
1011 Bowles Ave. in Fenton, Mo. For more information, call 636-496-4660.