Filmed by CBS 60 Minutes
My name is Roy Smith and I live in England. On visiting my doctor last April after suffering with deafness and dizzy spells, I was referred to the Southampton General Hospital ENT Department. There I was sent for an MRI scan, and the next day I received a phone call stating another scan was required.
I was referred to the ENT Surgeon who informed me that I had an AN. She gave me details of the operation I was to receive which sounded horrific and gave me some documentation to read. The documentation on this particular operation was very informative; however, first impressions were that it was a very complexed and traumatic operation lasting possibly up to 12 hours. I was informed of the many possible after effects and physical disabilities as well. A fact at the bottom of the documentation advised there was a 1% mortality rate.
I was not offered or informed of any alternative treatment for my AN. I therefore began to investigate to find out more about my condition. I was surprised to find out that many people suffer from AN. In conversation with my Solicitor, he told me his brother-in-law had had the operation mentioned above. I contacted him and my suspicions were confirmed of the traumatic operation. He informed me that I could join the British Acoustic Neuroma Association which I therefore did immediately.
I received the booklet with stories of people in the same situation and found two people (Chris Ottewell and Yvonne Thommis) who had been treated in America with Fractionated Stereotactic Radiosurgery for brain tumours by a Dr. Lederman at Staten Island University Hospital, New York.
On speaking with Chris and Yvonne, I telephoned Dr Lederman and left a message for him to call me back. He contacted me the next day by telephone and asked me to send my MRI scans to him for his appraisal. Four days after he had received the scans, he again telephoned and agreed to treat me in January as he was away in December.
On 17th January 1999 I travelled to New York with my wife to begin my treatment as an out-patient. I had four separate sessions with Dr. Lederman and his staff and was given a very comprehensive health check which included hearing tests, MRI scans, CT scans etc. For our comfort during our stay in New York, my wife and I rented a hospital apartment which was excellent and had every comfort we could wish for. The treatment was painless and the staff we found to be outstanding. They seemed genuinely interested in my condition and explained every step along the way, so I understood exactly what was going on.
CBS News and 60 Minutes were making a television programme on Dr. Lederman's treatment for ANs. I was asked whether I would be happy for them to film the treatment. I gladly obliged, as I would like to make more people with ANs aware of this non-invasive treatment that can be available with a fantastic success rate.
I have now been back in the U.K. for one week since having been treated, and have not had any headaches. I have felt dizzy once but this was very momentarily and I now walk and look sober instead of intoxicated!! I am very happy with my progress and many friends have commented that they could not believe I had been away for one week, undergone this treatment and look exactly the same as when I went away.
The next step is to send MRI scans every six months for two years to Dr Lederman so he can monitor the situation. Out of interest, since my first scans in May 1998 in England to the time I received treatment in January 1999 the tumour had grown 20%. Not bad considering I was informed it was a slow growing tumour!!
[Editor's note: 20% growth by volume = 6.3% growth in each of 3 dimensions (1.2 = 1.063 * 1.063 * 1.063). For example, for a 15 mm tumor, this would be just under 1 mm (15 * 1.063 = 15.95). For 8 months of growth, this does not sound excessively fast at all.]
I could not begin to describe words to thank Dr. Lederman and his staff for the kind and professional treatment I received. I would like to thank everyone involved for their help and had I not found out about this treatment I would probably still be waiting for invasive surgery as there is still a long waiting list.
18 The Grove
Butlocks Heath, Netley Abbey
Southhampton, Hampshire, SO31 5FP
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Last Edited: Friday, November 01, 2002