Father/Son Team Fight Cancer

FRESNO, Calif.

Family is everything to George Sicklick.

"I'm very pleased with all the kids…all of my children and grandchildren. It's wonderful to have them," George Sicklick told Ivanhoe.

But he's lost a lot of family over the years. George's mother, father, aunt and uncle all died of cancer. His daughter and cousins are cancer survivors, and most recently, George got the diagnosis himself.

"I was really happy that they found it because with my family, some of them, they find out they have cancer, and you know, my father, two months, and he's gone," George said.

It was only fitting that this family man's son -- a cancer surgeon -- helped diagnose him.

"He arranged for his colleagues to see me, and they did a scan," George said.

The scan showed it was Hodgkin's Lymphoma. George needed surgery, chemo and radiation. He was one of the first patients to try a new machine. True Beam delivers radiation faster than standard machines --up to double the dose rate. A standard 15-minute session can be done is less than five minutes. A 60-minute radiosurgery can be reduced to half the time.

"If we can shorten the duration of treatment, motion during the treatment itself becomes less of a significant factor," Loren K. Mell, M.D., assistant professor for department of radiation oncology at the University of California in San Diego, Ca., said.

When patients shift or breathe during treatment, the tumor also moves. George's tumor was near other organs that doctors wanted to avoid. The True Beam machine performs accuracy checks every 10 milliseconds targeting the tumor and avoiding other areas.

"We can significantly reduce the amount of radiation to nearby normal tissues and that can reduce side effects," Dr. Mell said.

George didn't have any side effects.

"I had no reaction," George said. "I was not sick."

Now, he's cancer-free and thankful he has more time to appreciate the beauty around him. True Beam can be used for many types of cancer but has particular advantages for those of the lung, liver, breast, prostate and head and neck.

If this story or any other Ivanhoe story has impacted your life or prompted you or someone you know to seek or change treatments, please let us know by contacting Marsha Hitchcock at mhitchcock@ivanhoe.com

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