Killing Cervical Cancer

10/12/2008 MIAMI, Fla. At age 68, Dorothy Smith has no plans of slowing down.

"I don't want to stop working," Smith told Ivanhoe. "I wouldn't know what to do with myself."

She's grateful for every second. Seven years ago, she was hit with advanced cervical cancer.

"I said, 'Oh my God. I'm going to die. I can't believe I'm stage three.' No symptoms, no nothing," Smith recalled.

She needed a device to deliver radiation inside her body. But her cancer was so advanced, the standard treatment device was not an option.

"It's very cumbersome," Aaron Wolfson, M.D., a radiation oncologist at the University of Miami Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center in Miami, Fla. "It causes great discomfort and even pain to the patients."

At the same time, Dr. Wolfson was developing a safer, more effective alternative called Gynocyte.

"It allows us to give a very intense amount of radiation to the tumor with little damage to the nearby and normal tissues," Dr. Wolfson said.

The device, which stays in for three days, is also much easier to insert.

"You can give enough dose to cure the cancer without harming the patient," Dr. Wolfson said.

The old device has a 60 percent to 70 percent cure rate. The Gynocyte has a ninety percent cure rate.

"The amazing thing about Dorothy is without this device, she had no chance," Dr. Wolfson said.

"It was like a blessing. It was a miracle and it was just in time ... just for me," Smith said.

Surviving has changed Smith's outlook.

"You look forward to every day," Smith said. "Every day you wake up and thank God for another day."

Gynocyte was just FDA approved and doctors and hospitals across the country now have access to the device.



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