My name is Howard and I am 53 years old. In 2005 after a period of hospital tests I was diagnosed with Bowel cancer in September 2005.
My consultant advised me to have an intensive course of radiotherapy, covering several days' treatment prior to surgery to remove the tumour. Following completion of the radiotherapy my surgery took place in November 2005. The tumour was removed and I was given an ileostomy as a temporary measure whilst the bowel was given time to heal.
The post -operative pathology revealed some cancer cells had escaped prior to surgery and with this news I undertook a 9 month course of chemotherapy. At the end of this course all seemed to indicate a complete success.
Due to various other commitments my planned ileostomy reversal was delayed until early 2008. Just before being admitted in hospital for the reversal, one of my routine blood tests revealed some new cancerous activity; naturally we delayed the reversal.
Early 2008 was a period of several tests; CT scan, MR scan, colonoscopy and finally a PET scan which revealed a smallish tumour "hiding" in the pelvic area. The tumour was not in any vital organs but at this stage was deemed too large to remove because of its close proximity to important nerves & blood vessels.
In July 2008 I commenced another chemotherapy course; the hope was that the chemotherapy would shrink the tumour sufficiently for surgery to take place. By November 2008 some shrinkage had occurred, but my Oncologist felt that it was still insufficient for the surgery.
I found myself in limbo, then by chance read an article in a discarded newspaper at Christies Hospital while waiting for Chemotherapy that documented Alan Bowley's experiences with CyberKnife in the USA.
Subsequent searches on the internet provided lots more information on this (as far as the UK is concerned) unheard of treatment. We made contact with Jan & Alan who were most helpful & encouraging and decided to approach several CyberKnife centres. The planned order of approach was to be 1) Lille, in North East France 2) Harley Street Clinic in London and 3) The Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, USA.
Luckily, the first choice, the Oscar Lambret Centre in Lille, having had my case notes and scans from the NHS, agreed to undertake the Cyberknife treatment. The second piece of good fortune was that my local Primary Care Trust agreed to fund the CyberKnife treatment (it cost approx £4000).
In January 2009, my wife Anne & I decamped to Lille for a couple of weeks and the treatment began. Three 80 minute treatments spread over several days followed. The treatments were straightforward and painless and we were soon back home in the UK. We were delighted with the treatment at Lille and found no significant language difficulties. I would recommend anyone suitable for CyberKnife to consider going to Lille.
To date subsequent CT and MR scans and blood tests indicate that the tumour whilst still there is in a stable condition and is no longer growing, hopefully this state will continue until the cancerous cells eventually whither and die away. Currently I feel reasonably well though I do suffer stamina problems & post chemotherapy peripheral nerve damage that affects use of both hands & feet.