July 25, 2013
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Sarah Tiambeng, Zehnder Communications, (504) 962-3731, firstname.lastname@example.org
Illinois CyberKnife Successfully Treats Brain Tumor Using Advanced
Technology, Shares Patient Experience
Former patient at Park Ridge-based cancer treatment center now serves as hospital volunteer
PARK RIDGE, Ill. – Illinois CyberKnife has developed expertise in stereotactic radiosurgery for brain
tumors using CyberKnife®
technology since opening in 2011. Last year, brain tumors accounted for
more than half of the total patients treated at the center.
Among those cases was Ethel Wentink, a patient with a meningioma, a type of benign brain tumor.
Wentink was originally misdiagnosed with trigeminal neuralgia (TN) after exhibiting all the symptoms
of the nerve disorder characterized by excruciating facial pain. After a year of unresolved and
mounting pain, she underwent an MRI, leading to the discovery of a tumor growing directly on her
“I spoke with a radiation oncologist and was told I would need to lose 50 pounds to be eligible for
treatment,” Wentink said. “I got out of the house and into a health club and lost the weight but then
found out I had to lose an additional 100 pounds to receive treatment.”
Devastated by the delay, Wentink began to pursue other treatment options and discovered Illinois
CyberKnife. The center is able to treat both brain tumors and TN with stereotactic radiosurgery using
CyberKnife technology. After researching, Wentink found she would only need to lose an additional
50 pounds to receive CyberKnife treatment.
“With other radiosurgical systems, bolted head gear is required,” Wentink said. “It was a relief to know
that with CyberKnife I would have only a molded mask placed over my face. From everything I read,
CyberKnife seemed to be the best option, and it turned out that way.”
During treatment, precisely targeted, high doses of radiation are delivered to the tumor. Common
methods for brain tumor treatment include surgery and conventional radiation therapy. However,
surgery requires incision and an overnight hospital stay, and conventional radiation therapy can be
lengthy and cause harsh side effects.
“In addition to not requiring a head frame, CyberKnife also has the unique ability to offer staged or
fractionated treatment,” said Illinois CyberKnife medical director Dr. Arica Hirsch. “In those cases,
treatment is spread over two to five smaller sessions. This makes it possible to more safely treat
some meningiomas that are larger or those located next to critical structures like the optic nerve.”
CyberKnife treatment requires no incision or sedation. Patients experience few to no side effects and
are typically treated in five or fewer procedures, which each last less than two hours. Wentink was
treated in just three sessions. Immediately after treatment, her facial pain began to decrease.
“I had no pain during treatment,” she said. “The staff members helped me get into a position where I
would be most comfortable and communicated with me throughout treatment, so I would know what
was happening throughout the entire session.”
Wentink said the staff’s extra care and assistance made the experience stand out.
“Once I was a candidate, they knew I was working toward losing weight and asked me to keep them
apprised of my progress. It was a team effort,” Wentink said. “The staff treated me with dignity and
respect and wanted to know how they could help my progress.”
Following her treatment, Wentink decided to volunteer at the hospital to show her gratitude for the
care and assistance she received.
“I work on the art cart, and we make items to offer patients or work on crafts they can make with us,”
she said. “It is so rewarding that I want to start volunteering an additional day of the week at the
In addition to treating brain tumors, Illinois CyberKnife treats malignant and benign tumors in the
prostate, spine, lung, liver, pancreas, kidney and eye. Brain and lung tumors comprise the majority of
treatments at the center. CyberKnife may not be appropriate for all brain tumor patients. Only a doctor
can determine the best course of treatment for an individual diagnosis.
Illinois CyberKnife is a department of Advocate Lutheran General Hospital and is located at 1700
Luther Lane, Suite 1110, Park Ridge, Ill. 60068. For more information, call (847) 723-0100.