A man travels halfway around the world to receive lifesaving treatment in Syracuse. Our Kat De Maria tells the story of Yuri Churakov and his care at Upstate University Hospital.
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- A Russian speaker, Yuri Churakov may not understand everything his doctors are saying. But he knows he's in the right place to take care of his cancer.
"We know this is a serious disease and right after that, we started serious research on how to treat this disease and which clinic is the best one to proceed," said Yuri's son, Alexei Churakov.
After checking out doctors in multiple countries, the Churakovs chose Upstate University Hospital and made their first trip to Syracuse this week.
"Metastatic renal cell carcinoma is an aggressive form of kidney malignancy or kidney tumor that has spread to others parts of the body. Namely in Mr. Churakov's case, it has spread to his lungs and most dangerously, his brain," said Urology Department Chair Gennady Bratslavsky.
Churakov's treatment requires a multidisciplinary approach, starting with neurosurgeons and radiation oncologists eliminating the brain tumor. Friday, Churakov went under the gamma knife, a somewhat misleadingly named procedure that does not involve surgery.
"The goal here is to kill off the tumor with very intense radiotherapy. The advantage of having a treatment like gamma knife is a lot of patients who would have previously needed an aggressive surgical intervention are actually better treated by gamma knife," said Radiation Oncology Department Chair Dr. Jeffrey Bogart.
Churakov spent less than a half hour in the gamma knife and is expected back in Russia by Monday. He will be back though to evaluate the success of the procedure and continue the process of rooting out all of his cancer and making him fully healthy again.
"We are in the hands of highly skilled people and we trust them," Alexei Churakov said.