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Brain cancer, Senator McCain? Ask Manhattan Radiosurgery Pioneer Dr Gil Lederman for Second Opinion

Triple Board Certified Harvard-Trained Specialist Has Treated Cancer Without Surgery for 30 Years

Evading Established Practitioners Who Try To Sweep Him Under Carpet of Silence

Lederman Explains Cancer Treatment With Extensive Radio Discussion of his Practice and Cases

Want to preserve your functioning and walk out of the office soon after prostate "surgery"?  Apply to Harvard educated triple board certified oncologist Doctor Gil Lederman

Anyone who undergoes a brush with cancer either in themselves or in loved ones should know about the existence and continued treatment success of the remarkable Gil Lederman of New York, who you may not have heard of even though he has an office at the center of Manhattan at 38th and Broadway and is constantly on the radio at weekends on either WOR or WABC.

On those two stations he often corrects the standard, predictable and often out of date advice served up to cancer patients by the authorities at the top of the tree of established medicine at Memorial Sloan-Kettering, Mt Sinai and other major cancer treatment centers in Manhattan, while freely discussing his methods and cases, often with the patient he has treated.

Meanwhile the established centers, busier than ever as Americans continue to die from cancer only less often than heart attacks and other circulation problems, both ailments magnified by the food processing industry, mostly don’t release their treatment data except to acknowledge their failure rate is much the same as thirty years ago.

So what should you do if you register an elevated reading on your PSA test and your longtime friendly and supposedly authoritative GP advises you that surgery is necessary, he or she not yet being aware yet that high powered committees appointed to look into such matters have twice in the last decade advised that elevated PSA readings by themselves no longer justify expensive intervention by surgeons anxious to remove your prostate before it turns cancerous, since there is virtually no beneficial effect apparent in the statistics of prostate cancer deaths from such action.

On the other hand what is certain is that a high proportion of prostate patients treated surgically end up with urinary malfunction that requires them to spend the rest of their lives in adult diapers, not to mention blighted sex lives in the wake of erectile difficulties.

Seeking a second opinion

So if you still want nevertheless to be “safe” and ameliorate your prostate cancer threat (only about 1 in 1000 of those treated would actually have come down with fatal cancer, statistics in the above papers show) with a modern approach which will preserve your normal functioning in both respects and even let you walk out of the doctor’s office an hour or less after non-invasive prostate treatment, what should you do? One option tops the list, in our opinion: Call Dr Lederman.

A major problem in cancer politics: how do outsiders in the media contact the distinguished John McCain to encourage him to assign his family and other advisors to contact Dr Gil Lederman for a second opinion on the need to further assault his head with chemotherapy and radiation damage following his recent brain surgery?

Gaining a second opinion is always a wise course in assessing medical advice, but some effort should be made to avoid being referred to the doctor’s golfing buddy down the hall. From this angle the choice of Gil Lederman for consultation in regard to brain, body and prostate tumors has two advantages, his unmatched professional independence and his unusually wide ranging expertise.

Lederman is professional qualified to assess the tests and pathology reports as well as the treatment advice with which he is presented because he is qualified in three major aspects including radiology. So it is clearly worthwhile for all threatened with the deleterious regimens normally applied to cancer to head over to this Harvard- trained, triple board certified cancer doctor in central Manhattan at his office at 1384 Broadway (details below).

Now you might well think at first hearing that Lederman runs more radio promotion of his innovative cancer surgery technique on WOR and WABC Radio every weekend than seems dignified, but the compelling reason he has to do all this self-promotion is not that his newer, so-called “fractionated stereotactic radiosurgery” approach to all solid tumors from brain to breast to prostate is prima facie dubious, but because his reputation is constantly under assault as a threat to and a replacement for the standard slash, burn and poison treatment of cancer – the knife surgery, cancer causing broad beam radiation and toxic and often lethal chemotherapy – to which patients have been subjected for decades without much progress in benefits.

According to his publicly released data Lederman’s treatment, moreover, gets better results for many cancers than the conventional regimen (he claims 90% success is typical and, unlike most treatment centers, releases data to back this figure) and is far preferable for patients for one major reason It is non invasive and allows them to walk out of Radiosurgery New York, the treatment center Lederman runs at 1384 Broadway at 38th Street, in as little as an hour after a ten minute treatment without pain, nausea, or hair loss, or the later penalty of eventual death that is so often attendant on the conventional treatments still firmly in place at Memorial Sloan-Kettering and other nearby castles of established cancer knowledge.

Raising the drawbridge

Like medieval castles, those centers of traditional treatment raise the drawbridge at the slightest news of the approach of innovative knights such as Lederman with a kinder and more effective replacement for their favored, long established and very remunerative methods. Such pioneers outside their walls they either forget to mention to patients or actively disparage as “unconventional” and “nonstandard”, neither of which characteristics is shameful, given that is what makes progress in every arena of human activity.

One mild pejorative is “unorthodox”, as if independents and their novel initiatives and departures were practitioners of bizarre and outlandish methods and therefore charlatans outside the pale of a tried and true tradition followed by adherents of sound, tested, top of the line methods and skills, however ineffective. As it happens Lederman’s approach is now widely copied and available at many reputable institutions, though his refinements keep him in the lead in minimizing side effects.

The embarrassment those embedded in major institutions suffer in regard to Lederman’s success is compounded by the fact that he is one of their own, a Harvard postdoc who was in place at Dana Farber in Boston until he pioneered a new technique he adopted thirty years ago from Sweden. He is a radiation oncologist who is triple board certified in three main areas of cancer treatment, that is, medical oncology (chemotherapy etc) and radiation oncology, and internal medicine (Michael Reese Center at the University of Chicago), in other words he could hardly be better qualified to assess a new approach and its benefits relative to the standard one, and apply it, in any case where the standard approach has produced or promises less than optimal results.


Jimmy Carter in his nineties, who two years after non-invasive ‘stereotactic radiosurgery’ is reportedly cancer free at 93.

Lederman advocates his radiosurgery in multiple programs broadcast weekly on WOR or WABC replete with embarrassing revelations of how unsuccessful standard treatments have been in other hands, and quoting how in individual cases his very well established innovation has proven more helpful and effective, often featuring the patients themselves calling in.

There are indications that his latest success may well have been none other than the four brain tumors recently suffered by former president Jimmy Carter in his nineties. Carter two years later at 93 is reportedly cancer-free after non-invasive “stereotactic radiosurgery” at a location not specified in public reports but judging from Lederman’s broadcast references to it may have been at the hands of its leading pioneer in the United States, Lederman himself, for that at least is what he constantly implies in his public radio commercials which run along the lines of “You too can have Presidential treatment by coming to Radiosurgery New York”, and he seems to have known early that Carter experienced remission before being given the Merck immunotherapy drug Keytruda.

Lederman is of course prevented from saying so outright by medicine’s rule of patient confidentiality, so Science Guardian can only report on this point by noting that we called Lederman on the phone and when he called back introduced ourselves by saying we were reporting on his contribution to medicine in the face of resistance from the powers that be, and would like to interview him if possible, and being met with a stony silence then asked him point blank if he had treated President Carter, whereupon Lederman said abruptly “I really don’t do this kind of thing! Sorry” and vanished from the line without even a Goodbye. We put this down as an indication that we had put him on the spot with a question he couldn’t answer without contravening the rule of confidentiality, and therefore the correct answer was in the affirmative.

In public statements Memorial Sloan-Kettering is left in his wake ascribing the Carter success to the use of the Merck immunotherapy drug Keytruda (pembrolizumab), even while acknowledging that stereotactic radiosurgery was involved in his treatment and achieved remission prior to the use of the drug:
(Understanding Jimmy Carter:A Surprise Turnaround -Conversation with Jedd Wolchok on MSKCC blog). As noted, stereotactic radiosurgery is the name of the technique pioneered here by Lederman.

In addition to surgery and radiation, Mr. Carter received a new immunotherapy drug called pembrolizumab (Keytruda®), which releases a brake on the immune system, empowering it to mount a stronger attack against cancer. The particular braking molecule targeted by this drug is called PD-1.

To get a better sense of what Mr. Carter’s surprise announcement means — especially for patients in a similar situation — we spoke with Jedd Wolchok, Chief of the Melanoma and Immunotherapeutics Service at Memorial Sloan-Kettering.

That’s why it’s good to do exactly what Mr. Carter’s physicians did, which was to control the brain metastases to the best of their ability — in this case with stereotactic radiosurgery — get him off the steroids as quickly as possible, and then initiate the immunotherapy.

Saving John McCain

If this speculation is true then the distinguished Senator John McCain, whose blood clot was revealed today on the news as hiding a brain tumor (primary glioblastoma) which was also removed, would be well served to contact Lederman for a second opinion before plunging into the usual combination of radiation and chemotherapy followup to brain cancer surgery. Reports have it that McCain’s family is reviewing options and one of the great advantage of consulting Lederman is. as we have noted, that he is uniquely well-qualified to review all the treatment to date of any patient referred to him.

And this is the point of this post. Anyone told by their doctor that they may have prostate or any other cancer susceptible to surgical intervention should seek a second opinion from Lederman, who can authoritatively review the biopsy and other evidence for choosing treatment. If a patient is so impressed that he switches to Lederman’s care, he or she should know that Lederman’s charges are usually far less costly that the more expensive standard options purveyed by what he calls “the super duper pooper hospital” across town, and his treatments are available on Medicaid and Medicare as well as standard insurance coverage.

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Cancer Action list: Phone 212 CHOICES (212 246 4237) for a copy of Lederman’s pamphlet and DVD, and for confirmation of his expertise and dedication to the best treatment for his patients listen to his many very accessible radio programs on WOR at weekends at 710 AM (Sat 9pm Sun 6am 1pm 3pm 9pm Mon 12am , and WABC at 770 AM Saturday mornings from 3:00am – 4:00am, 5:00am – 6:00am and 11:00pm – 12:00am. Radiosurgery New York with Dr. Gil Lederman can also be heard on Sundays from 3:00am – 4:00am), after first going to his website http://www.rsny.org/. Visit his premises at 1384 Broadway at 38th Street for a copy of his more complete information package and, if you have symptoms and have had treatment already, a personal interview to explore your options.
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Lederman has been using stereotactic radiosurgery for more than thirty years on Staten Island and in Manhattan in a form (‘fractionated’) in which he applies lower doses over a longer time period, with rates of success that are the envy of his dismissive rivals at Memorial Sloan-Kettering and other castles of medical convention such as Dana Farber in Boston, where he worked until he and a colleague were asked by the Harvard Medical Center to assess an innovative Swedish radiosurgery or radiotherapy. Both agreed it was a very promising and genuinely useful and superior innovation.

It was this assessment which motivated Lederman to leave and start his own practice (his colleague started the rival Cyberknife offshoot) and to pioneer in this country over thirty years the tool of his fractionated version of stereotactic radiosurgery first developed in Sweden’s Karolinska Institute, which in his experienced hands, he says, is superior to similar approaches now being used by those who are now following in his wake.

One of these is Cyberknife, which charges more and is advertised frequently in magazines like the New Yorker or New York Magazine, which uses a more expensive machine, higher doses of radiation and stabilizing screws into the skull when operating on brain tumors, according to Lederman, who used screws at first but then invented a kinder ‘stereotactic frame’ to hold the head in fixed position, for lack of which Cyberknife still delivers one massive radiation dose as per the Jane Brody description, according to listeners to the radio performance of Lederman, who also recounts he was once given a Cyberknife machine known as Accuray but returned it as useless for his purposes, details which we will check with Cyberknife, particularly to see if they still use screws into the skull and if their machines now cost $3 million.

(The Cyberknife website is prima facie not reassuring, however. It’s patient safety section states “Most side effects of radiotherapy, including radiotherapy delivered with Accuray systems, are mild and temporary, often involving fatigue, nausea, and skin irritation. Side effects can be severe, however, leading to pain, alterations in normal body functions (for example, urinary or salivary function), deterioration of quality of life, permanent injury and even death. Side effects can occur during or shortly after radiation treatment or in the months and years following radiation. The nature and severity of side effects depend on many factors, including the size and location of the treated tumor, the treatment technique (for example, the radiation dose), the patient’s general medical condition, to name a few. For more details about the side effects of your radiation therapy, and if treatment with an Accuray product is right for you, ask your doctor.”).

Mainstream institutions have followed

If you are reluctant to believe Lederman’s departure from the norm is worthwhile, you should know that “stereotactic radiosurgery” was already being hailed in the New York Times by Jane Brody as a “miracle” in the eyes of patients more than 20 years ago in 1995, after a decade of development here:

Device Transforms Brain Surgery
By JANE E. BRODY
Published: July 5, 1995

TO Christine Tejada and her family in Brooklyn, the procedure known as Gamma Knife radiosurgery is nothing short of a miracle.

When she was 8, Christine was found to have a life-threatening blood vessel malformation in her brain and was scheduled to undergo risky invasive surgery that would have hospitalized her for perhaps 10 days and been followed by weeks or months of recovery and rehabilitation. Instead, she was treated successfully in Chicago without so much as a slit in her scalp.

The treatment, which involves no knife at all but rather hundreds of powerful, highly focused radiation beams aimed at the malformation, was done on a Thursday, she left the hospital on Friday and was back at school and up to her old tricks by Monday.

Gamma Knife surgery, technically known as stereotactic radiosurgery, is revolutionizing the treatment of some problems in the brain, including benign tumors in treacherous locations, like the brain stem or near the optic nerve. The $3.5 million machine replaces the surgeon’s scalpel with a single, high dose of gamma radiation emitted by a cobalt-60 source. The patient wears a helmet resembling a beauty salon hair dryer. The helmet has 201 small round holes in it that aim the radiation so that 201 narrow beams of gamma rays are all aimed at a single tiny target. The tissue being treated thus receives a very strong dose of radiation without harming anything along the way.

More

Four years later Jane Brody was mentioning it again though in more restrained terms, in her Oct 19 1999 column in the Science Times which listed stereotactic radiosurgery as a more modern approach to brain tumor surgery in respectful terms:

Since the mid-1980’s, the yearly total of Americans given diagnoses of brain tumors has doubled, and it is expected to exceed 100,000 this year. More than half the increase has occurred in people over 65.

Survival rates, too, have been inching up, thanks to improved diagnostic techniques and more precise and inventive treatments, like stereotactic radiosurgery (a pinpoint form of radiation) and laser surgery with a gamma knife. More progress is expected to result from some still experimental treatments, including immunotherapy, gene therapy and implanted wafers of chemotherapeutic agents…The three common cancer treatments — surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy — are most often used for brain tumors as well. But there are now highly sophisticated ways of “operating” on the brain, including the use of pinpoint radiation and laser beams that can destroy the tumor without damaging normal surrounding tissue.

So it should be noted that ‘stereotactic radiosurgery’ has been available for years at the Mayo Clinic and others as Gamma Knife radiosurgery :

Gamma Knife radiosurgery uses specialized equipment to focus about 200 tiny beams of radiation on a tumor or other target with submillimeter accuracy. Although each beam has very little effect on the brain tissue it passes through, a strong dose of radiation is delivered to the place where all the beams meet.

The precision of brain stereotactic radiosurgery results in minimal damage to healthy tissues surrounding the target.

Gamma Knife radiosurgery is usually a one-time therapy completed in a single day.

and similarly among many other locations Johns Hopkins Bloomberg offers stereotactic radiosurgery for brain tumors.

Lederman’s ‘fractionated stereotactic radiosurgery’ is distinguished, however, by the safer and more effective delivery of a lower dose over a longer period, and in the case of brain tumors involving a structure to hold the head in place which can also be applied to other parts of the body.

A New York magazine attack

If you google Gil Lederman you will come across a New York magazine story involving a musician’s wife suing Lederman to get back an inexpensive guitar which was autographed for his 13 year old son by the musician, George Harrison of the Beatles, two weeks before he died (after being transferred from Lederman’s care to UCLA), which in tone and content supporters complain is the kind of hatchet job which pioneers of progress in medicine can reliably expect, rather than any careful independent account of what might be upsetting the established apple cart.

Certainly Andrew Goldman makes clear that Lederman’s promotional side has been a characteristic of his initiative since the beginning, though he ignores why this may be a required element of Lederman’s pioneering work, which involves an uphill battle to establish an innovation which displaces the treatment of major institutions as the preferred option. Lederman counts only one urologist who will refer his prostate cancer patients to him for the lower recurrence and lower side effects he promises.

Prejudiced skeptics will find their caution reinforced by the cynical tone of the piece and some of the adverse anecdotal material included, if they forget failure is inevitable in treating as many as 30,000 patients, but a full reading of the piece proves it is less of a blow to Lederman’s stature than one might expect, especially if his overall success rate of some 90 per cent is accepted as accurate. However, the “creative” remark below is a solid blow which perhaps explains Lederman’s souring on the press.

Here is an excerpt that displays Goldman’s impetus, which may have been provoked by his interactions with Lederman, who is known to treat writers with impatience born of his long uphill battle with the established medical fraternity that they draw upon as sources to provide “balance”.

To put it kindly, Lederman seems to have a creative relationship with the facts, whether about his friendship with a former Beatle or the possibilities of a cancer treatment. From the beginning, the way that Lederman and the hospital advertised radiosurgery raised eyebrows in the medical community. “I’d pick up the Sunday Times and see these bold advertisements that said, ‘If you’ve been told you have an incurable brain tumor, come to Staten Island University Hospital,’ ” says Loeffler. “I thought that was a little deceptive, because if you’ve been told this, the reality is that it’s probably true.”

But true to his advertising, and for whatever it’s worth, Lederman was willing to treat patients whom most doctors would turn away. “How do you say to a patient, ‘Go home and die; we’re not willing to try’?” asks Bruce Tannenbaum, SIUH’s former manager of radiation oncology. “It’s not doing any harm, so it’s not unethical to do.” But another former colleague took a dimmer view of the program’s acceptance policy: “I got the impression that if a stray dog had insurance, Lederman would treat it.”

Depending on your point of view, when it comes to new technologies, Lederman is either a forward-thinking early adopter or unacceptably reckless. In 1996, he learned that at Sweden’s Karolinska Institute, where radiosurgery had been invented decades before, two doctors had published preliminary results of a trial in which they used the same treatment on tumors below the neck. It was a controversial procedure because the body could not be stabilized as well as the brain: Organs move around, as much as a centimeter even in a restful state; the brain stays put. But the Swedes had received FDA approval for a device that they claimed stabilized the body enough to make radiosurgery both safe and effective. While many doctors weren’t yet convinced, Lederman, who had been performing brain radiosurgery for years, believed it would work on the body as well. He called Varone from Sweden to tell him about the revolutionary new treatment. Within two months, before there had been any independent scientific studies, Lederman became the first doctor in the United States to offer body radiosurgery.

And of course, he wasted no time in marketing the hell out of it. Any patient who called a toll-free number received a glossy pamphlet and video touting the procedure’s successes, followed by a personal call from the doctor himself. With liver metastases, which typically indicate an aggressive cancer, “we have a success rate of 95 percent,” says the pamphlet, which defines “success” as any cancer that shrinks, or at least remains the same size. How about pancreatic cancer, perhaps the most quick and deadly of them all? “Over 94 percent of primary pancreas cancers have been successfully controlled in the treated area.”

Rest of Goldman text in New York
More on Gil Lederman's career and qualifications, and the technique of fractionated stereotactic radiosurgery

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