Gamma Knife Surgery: A Patient’s 11-Year Journey to Be Cancer-Free

Jason Sheehan, MD, has helped pioneer Gamma Knife surgery.

Carolyn Blackwell-Stark was rushed to UVA after she had a scary reaction to medication. The experience was so positive, the family chose UVA for continued care for her reoccurring melanoma. Over the years as Carolyn struggled with cancer, she continued to see doctors at UVA.

Eventually, doctors found that the melanoma had traveled to Carolyn’s brain. After monitoring it for a while, it began to affect her speech. Her doctors referred her to Jason Sheehan, MD for Gamma Knife surgery.

The Benefits of Gamma Knife Surgery

“Language function is something that needs to be preserved at all costs,” Sheehan explains. “The Gamma Knife being used to treat this metastatic deposit from her melanoma was able to, as discreetly and precisely and accurately, target this tumor.”

Carolyn’s Gamma Knife surgery was successful.

Gamma Knife at UVA

Learn more about Gamma Knife surgery.

Over the years, Carolyn’s sister, Debi, has come with her to almost every appointment. Since the sisters travel from Northern Virginia to Charlottesville for routine check-ups, they make a day of it – they shop, go out to eat and enjoy the attractions Charlottesville has to offer.

The pair agree that choosing UVA for Carolyn’s journey was the right choice.

Watch Carolyn’s story.

Comments (3)

  1. Debra Roach says:

    Can gamma knife be used on glioblastoma grade 4 in a 79 year old patient on medicare and a suppliment?

    • Erica Gregory says:

      Hi Debra- Thank you for your question. We’ve reached out to Dr. Sheehan and he encourages you to reach out to his office so he can review the specific case you are referring to. He does mention that Gamma Knife radiosurgery is used for appropriately selected glioblastoma patients. You can find contact information for the Gamma Knife Center here:

  2. John says:

    Thanks for sharing this article, Yes of course, We also can do it we have to find Hope and Inspiration.And that patient is brave. Because there is nothing in this world which we can’t do. And that patient is brave.

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