Ex-skater to undergo gamma knife treatment

Updated: December 2, 2004, 7:12 PM ET
Associated Press

LOS ANGELES -- World champion figure skater Scott Hamilton will undergo a high-tech radiation therapy for a non-cancerous brain tumor, his publicist said Thursday.

Hamilton, 46, will have gamma knife treatment later this month at The Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, said Dr. Gene Barnett, chairman of the clinic's brain tumor institute.

In the outpatient treatment, pinpoint doses of high radiation are delivered to kill the tumor while causing less damage to healthy tissue.

The treatment will take only a single visit but results usually are not known for at least a month.

"In Mr. Hamilton's case, he may need other minimally invasive procedures down the road to manage his tumor," Barnett said in a statement issued by the skater's publicist, Michael Sterling.

That is because the tumor has a fluid-filled cyst that can recur.

If that is the case, "it would need to be drained by using a chemical to reduce or stop fluid production," Barnett said.

Hamilton was diagnosed last month with a slow-growing, non-cancerous tumor in the region of his pituitary gland. In 1997, he was diagnosed with testicular cancer and treated with surgery and chemotherapy.

"Scott's spirit and confidence in Dr. Barnett, his staff and the treatment, remain very high," Sterling said. "Needless to say, Scott is no stranger to adversity and has always faced every challenge in his life with great enthusiasm and an uncommon level of optimism."

Hamilton, who lives in Los Angeles, is a four-time U.S. national champion, a four-time world champion and the 1984 Olympic gold medalist. He is now a skating show producer.


Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press