Cleveland Clinic offers cutting-edge procedure for tumor patients with its latest Gamma Knife tech

Posted at 8:26 PM, Apr 04, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-06 06:03:49-04

Did you know that nearly 700,000 people in the U.S. live with brain tumors? According to the American Brain Tumor Association, they can occur with people of all ages.

The tumors can cause neurological damage and even be life-threatening, but a new option is now available locally. The Cleveland Clinic is treating patients using precise brain radiosurgery to treat those tumors.

News 5 talked to the first person who got the treatment in Ohio.

Donna Dominico talked about how loves to cook Italian food, is a dog lover, wife, mother and has been suffering from reoccurring brain tumors for years.

She recalled having to get traditional brain surgery to treat multiple tumors.

"Be cut open, and I was out of work for about 12 weeks, it was hard for me to do anything. I had to sleep sitting in a recliner,” she said.

She had her first procedure, back in 2009, after she was told she may have cancer.

“It was hard for everybody, my whole family, my kids,” she said.

It turns out Donna did not have cancer but had benign tumors that were growing. She had to undergo several surgeries, which left her without hair and stitches.

More recently, she made a brave decision, becoming the first person in Ohio to undergo the latest gamma knife procedure to treat her reoccurring tumors.

"She is a vivacious, caring person, who wants to take control of health and does so,” said Dr. Lilyana Angelov, Neurosurgeon at the Cleveland Clinic.

While this technology has been around for decades, this new upgrade involves a thermoplastic mask.

"This is an example of a mask, it is form-fitted to the patient, there's a cut out for the nose, and it comes in under the chin,” said Dr. Angelov.

RELATED: Cleveland Clinic opens new state of the art Taussig Cancer Center

She said the mask helps with accuracy and allows more patients to undergo the procedure, even those with larger tumors.

As for Donna, it's been only two weeks since she had the procedure, but she's already moving around, able to cook and do chores around the house.

She only had to go through five days of treatment, compared to being bedridden for 12 weeks with traditional surgery.

Her doctor said she is responding well to the treatment.