LITTLE ROCK, Ark — Nancy Faulk had regular doctor's appointments for years and there was no sign of cancer. All that changed in January when doctors caught an early-stage lung cancer.
"I don't feel like I have cancer," said Faulk. "It's been a shock."
Her mother also had lung cancer back in the '70s, but back then, they didn't have the advanced treatments available in Arkansas today. Faulk was able to quickly start state-of-the-art radiation therapy from a robotic machine called the CyberKnife.
"It's an unbelievable machine; that's all I can tell you," said Faulk.
Dr. Matthew Hardee, Medical Director of Radiation Oncology for CARTI, said that despite the name, it is a completely noninvasive radiation treatment.
"The name implies that it's really got the precision and the accuracy of a scalpel or a surgery," he said.
Hardee said CARTI is the only hospital in Arkansas to provide this treatment. Patients had to travel out of state to receive it in the past.
"The treatment head, which delivers the radiation, is mounted on a robot that has basically 360 degrees of freedom, and we're able to deliver radiation from from many more angles than we did before," he said. "It can result in better tumor targeting of the cancer."
Hardee said that the CyberKnife often offers less side effects for patients. Most patients only need one to five treatments and many sleep during the 30-minute treatment process.
Faulk recently finished her second treatment.
"I feel very good and Dr. Hardee seems to think that I'm going to be totally cured," she said. "I'm excited, I mean, we're planning a cruise later this year and I'm still doing everything, pretty much, that I do."
While cancer holds a unique journey for everyone diagnosed, Faulk said she has faith thanks to this technology, her team of doctors, and her community support.
"I have a tremendous amount of people praying for me," she said. "I call them my prayer warriors."
The CyberKnife can't treat every cancer but it is approved for certain brain tumors, spine tumors, lung cancers, prostate cancer, and more.
For more information head to: https://www.carti.com/cyberknife/