Patient Stories

Mary Whitney-Peak

Mary Whitney-Peak – Colon Cancer

“I’ve told both cancer patients and my oncologist’s office, ‘If you need someone to talk to, I can tell them because I’ve been through them all.’ When I was first diagnosed, I had a 30 percent chance of survival, and now I’m back working six-hour days and doing most everything I did before!”

Mary’s Story

Mary Whitney-Peak combines her creative talents at crafting with her occupation: she and her husband own and manage a year-round Christmas store. At 59, the holiday entrepreneur enjoys many hobbies and activities from auto-racing to football, and when she’s not spreading seasonal joy to others, she travels around the country visiting friends and going on fun water adventures.

In the spring of 2013, Mary began to experience difficult abdominal pain, and following an examination from her physician, was diagnosed with colon cancer, which metastasized to her liver. Throughout the year, Mary underwent a series of lengthy, demanding chemotherapy and traditional radiation therapy sessions, but unfortunately, these procedures failed to completely remove cancerous tissue from her liver due to a lack of necessary accuracy.

The CyberKnife system, found only at Spokane CyberKnife, proved to be the best solution for Mary’s condition: its precision-based tracking technology allows oncologists to track tumors in real time; and patients are, on average, treated in three short sessions in less than a week.

“The liver is located up against the lung and moves up to two inches during radiation treatments, with every patient’s breath,” says Dr. Karie-Lynn Kelly, who served as Mary’s radiation oncologist in Post Falls, Idaho before developing Spokane CyberKnife and Radiation Oncology Center. “Mary is a perfect candidate for the CyberKnife treatment.” “The CyberKnife adapts to this movement of tumors and treats with extreme accuracy while minimizing side effects.”

Mary entered the doors of the Spokane CyberKnife and was excited to work with Dr. Kelly and her colleagues, who were able to use the most advanced radiation treatment options available. Mary’s time with our center was favorable, and she especially enjoyed the care and dedication of our professional staff.

“It was like coming home,” Mary explains. “They were wonderful, answered all my questions, and tried to make me as comfortable as possible.”

Since receiving her three treatments in just three days, Mary has felt great, and has experienced no negative side effects from the CyberKnife system – this feeling elevated when a follow-up scan revealed no cancer cells in the area surrounding her liver. Thanks to her treatments, Mary is able to return to her favorite hobbies and continues to work diligently at her business.