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New treatment giving hope to cancer patients with brain tumors

OKLAHOMA CITY – A cutting edge tool is helping one woman beat the odds of a frightening brain tumor.

It’s a procedure local doctors believe will change the way the surgery is performed in the future.

Bonnie Naifeh received an early Christmas present this year when she learned that she was tumor free.

Naifeh said, “I had filled my will out. I’d done everything but this was the third time and the radiologist said it was so near the carotid artery and so it was really frightening to me.”

After a visit to her eye surgeon in 2007, Naifeh found out she had a tumor growing in the middle of her head.

The tumors returned multiple times.

After the third diagnosis, Dr. Michael Sughrue, with OU Medical Center, gave Naifeh three options.

She could do nothing, go through radiation or have brain surgery.

She chose to have an endoscopic pituitary gland surgery, a less invasive approach that uses a camera to go up the nasal cavity and remove the tumor through the nose.

The endoscope gives doctors a full view, opposed to the traditional method that gave surgeons a more narrow perspective.

Dr. Sughrue said, “The truth is we can get cures for these patients in a large percentage of these cases. And so, we all feel like there’s an obligation to make up the standard to the point where the majority of the people don’t have to deal with this like she did for years and years and years.”

This less invasive approach decreases the threat those tumors will return and also provides a faster recovery.

Dr. Sughrue said, “The important thing is we set people up for correct healing. So, we’re not, we don’t think, developing scarring or long-term sinus problems because we’re not destroying the anatomy.”

Naifeh will now just need to go for annual check ups to make sure the tumor doesn’t return.

In the meantime, she is counting her blessings for the treatment.