Success Without Compromise
I was diagnosed with an AN about 18 months ago and was advised that the treatment options were neurosurgery, wait and see, and radiation. The ear doctor strongly recommended neurosurgery which had a very high probability of hearing loss plus several weeks of recuperation but which would result in positive and final removal of the tumor with some possible short and/or long range unwanted side effects.
In exploring my treatment options on the Internet, I was scared silly by what I was reading about conventional microsurgery. I found many stories of the often painful and debilitating results of neurosurgery and concluded that the risks and results made the cure worse than the disease... After investigating the various alternative radiation treatments, I decided to go with Dr. Lederman at Staten Island Univ. Hospital and his FSR procedure.
I was warned by my ear doctor that enough time had not passed to adequately assess the long-term effects of radiation. As it turns out, the book on radiation of AN's is outdated by 20 years. I haven't found one solid, documented case of cancer attributed to radiation treatment of a benign tumor. The process has been used for 40 years on non-cancerous lesions, tumors, masses, etc. and you have to believe that the medical community has gotten more sensitive to radiation doses as time has gone by. Yet, I still can't find the examples being noted.
I was also warned that irradiated tumors were more difficult to deal with surgically, should that be required. I asked Dr. Lederman and he said that he knows of no patient of his who has had to face any surgery at all after FSR. In addition, he is claiming a 100% success rate and so reported at a recent medical association meeting.
To me the definition of successful treatment is that which stops the onslaught of the affliction and maintains the quality of life - no compromise. For example, my tumor has shrunk by 20% in 1 year and I have incurred no side effects - not while I was undergoing the 4 treatments and none since. I left work and drove to Staten Island Hospital for my FSR treatments and then drove back to work. I have had no symptoms or side effects - NONE!!
I am completely disillusioned with the surgical community because I do not believe that, in general, they are recommending treatments for AN which are in the best interest of their patients. Those who say that neurosurgery/microsurgery can result in success ignore the amount of productive time lost due to time in the hospital and to recuperation at home even if the surgery is a complete success.
We patients have to look out for ourselves. We must look closely at the arguments against FSR before accepting them! Conventional surgeons must be made to defend their process with solid data showing that the knife-in-the-brain results in better outcomes than FSR. I am sure that as time goes by the pendulum will shift away from surgery and towards radiation or some, as yet undiscovered, non-invasive procedure. The rhetoric against radiation is sounding more and more hollow as success is realized and the downside cannot be documented. For example, one out of one hundred that have surgery for AN die on the operating table. Cite me even one example of a fatality from FSR!
Some of you are doing the search I was 18 months ago; please write me if you disagree with what I've said or want to discuss the matter further.
Marvin Kelly <Fletchkell AT aol.com>
Last Edited: Wednesday, October 30, 2002