"I'm Grateful for Every Day I Have with My Family"

How one local woman who beat cancer three times is celebrating this holiday season

Dec. 5, 2011 (Tampa, Fla.) - Patsy Evans of Bradenton, Florida takes nothing for granted anymore. The 50-year-old mother of two was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008. “When you hear stage four, you automatically think it's a death sentence,” Evans says. “I watched my mother lose her battle to cancer in 2003. When it came to telling my sons, I couldn't. My husband had to.” According to the American Cancer Society, there's a one in eight chance a woman will be diagnosed with breast cancer. That chance doubles if her mother has been diagnosed.

After having a double mastectomy, Evans' oncologists found the cancer had metastasized. “The chemotherapy wasn't going to attack the cancer now in my liver. One option was liver re-sectioning, which is painful and invasive,” Evans explains. She did extensive research and found CyberKnife Centers of Tampa Bay could be a better option. “Even in the few years since I lost my mom, cancer-fighting technology has improved by leaps and bounds. Chemotherapy makes you tired in a way you can't describe. But with CyberKnife radiosurgery, I only had three treatments and felt very little side effects,” Evans says.

Evans' cancer came back a third time in her spine. “I immediately went to CyberKnife Centers of Tampa Bay. It's the easiest decision I've made in my cancer treatment,” says Evans. “I was able to finish my treatments in a week and a half, and then go on a European vacation with my husband. No other treatment would have allowed me to live my life to the fullest.” Evans says the only thing that slows her down today is scheduling the appointments for Herceptin, a maintenance chemotherapy drug to keep the cancer from returning. “My cancer is a chronic disease,” she explains, “It can be managed. You just have to fight it!”

“The first Christmas after my diagnosis, I went on a five day cruise to get away from it all. Now, I rejoice in everything from the holidays to birthdays, because I'm so grateful to celebrate any of it,”

Evans points out. “I truly cherish spending time with my family and look forward to having grandkids soon.”

“I owe my life to CyberKnife. It let me beat my cancer, twice, and still live independently,” Evans says. Her condition is now described as “no evidence of disease.” The cancer that had metastasized on her liver isn't seen on her routine PET scans. “I tell everyone to do the research. I know when I see Dr. Greenberg and Dr. Freeman at CyberKnife, I've seen the best there is in cancer treatment,” she says.

“Everything in your life changes. When you try to equate things to cancer, there's just no comparison,” Evans reflects. “No one is guaranteed tomorrow. The only thing you can do is live for today.”

About CyberKnife Centers of Tampa Bay:

CyberKnife Centers of Tampa Bay was founded in 2008 when a group of radiation oncologists with extensive backgrounds and a combined 45 years of radiosurgical experience opened the first CyberKnife Center in Tampa Bay, located on the campus of Town and Country Hospital. Drawing on their experience with CyberKnife centers in Miami, Palm Beach and Naples and their expertise with other forms of radiosurgery, the group introduced this exciting new technology to Central Florida.

CyberKnife Centers of Tampa Bay is owned and operated by Tampa Bay Radiosurgery Associates, LLC. Now with two freestanding facilities located in Tampa and Brandon, the staff at the outpatient centers is dedicated to providing image-guided radiosurgical treatments while understanding and upholding a standard of comfort for patients undergoing treatment. For more information, call 813-884-7400 (Tampa) or 855-870-8276 (Brandon), or visit www.CyberKnifeTampaBay.org.

Accurate Cancer Treatment

CyberKnife can treat benign tumors and many types of cancer, including, brain, head and neck, liver, lung, pancreatic, and prostate cancer, metastases, and spinal tumors.

Robotic Cancer Surgery

The CyberKnife System uses image-guided robotics to precisely destroy cancer tumors and other lesions. This precision spares normal, healthy tissue, while the higher dosage offers improved chances for cure from cancer. The CyberKnife can treat inoperable and hard to reach cancerous tumors.

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