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Lung cancer survivor grateful for Geisinger’s advanced treatment 

Non-invasive CyberKnife® technology helped Jeffrey Pfeiffer fully recover from lung cancer that spread to his brain.

Jeffrey Pfeiffer, 68, woke up one day and felt pain in his lungs with every breath.

Because Mr. Pfeiffer, of White Haven, Pa., was a smoker, his doctor ordered an X-ray, which showed a spot on his lung. Further testing at the Frank M. and Dorothea Henry Cancer Center at Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center confirmed he had stage 4 lung cancer, which had spread to his brain.

“I was scared. Growing up, everyone I knew who had cancer didn’t survive,” says Mr. Pfeiffer, a retired supervisor for the state.

“I wasn’t going to do anything. My wife Valerie and my son Jeff convinced me to get treatment. I said OK — and thank God I did. It saved my life.” 

 

 

A non-invasive approach to cancer treatment

Mr. Pfeiffer was treated for the brain tumor in 2020 with CyberKnife technology, an advanced, non-invasive delivery system for radiation.

CyberKnife doesn’t use a knife at all. It’s robotic technology that pinpoints radiation treatment for many types of cancer, including hard-to-reach and inoperable tumors.

Its precision is highly effective, sparing healthy tissue from radiation and reducing risk of side effects, says Geisinger radiation oncologist Eric Kemmerer, MD, who treated Mr. Pfeiffer.

“We don’t have to do open surgery. It’s a 20- to 30-minute, non-invasive method, often requiring only one to five treatments,” Dr. Kemmerer says. 

Mr. Pfeiffer was nervous, thinking he would get a burn from the radiation and maybe lose his hair. But Dr. Kemmerer sat him down and reassured him.

“I had to go only two times for radiation and my tumor disappeared. I was amazed,” Mr. Pfeiffer says. “I had no after-effects and lost absolutely no hair.”

“That is the name of the game,” says Dr. Kemmerer. “By pinpointing radiation, we hope to reduce the risk of side effects. He did absolutely magnificent with it.”

Enjoying life after cancer

Mr. Pfeiffer also underwent chemotherapy and immunotherapy to treat the lung cancer. Four years after the diagnosis, he’s in remission and doing well. He enjoys riding motorcycles and spending time with his family.

“I owe Geisinger and I owe the team that worked with me,” he says. “As soon as I found out I had cancer, within three days, I had a team on me and that team helped me get to where I am today. They’re great people over there.”

Next steps:

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