Health & Wellness

Cancer Patient Says Tumor Shrunk with New TrueBeam at Morristown Medical Center

TrueBeam Ben Christener and Dr. Mona Karim

MORRISTOWN, NJ – The latest piece of high precision radiotherapy equipment to treat cancer at Atlantic Health System’s Morristown Medical Center, the TrueBeam system, went into service on May 8. Ben Christener, who has small cell lung cancer, was one of the first two patients to be treated.

Christener’s cancer was discovered after a CT Scan showed a mass in his chest. At the hospital, a lymph node biopsy came back negative but a biopsy of the mass during a bronchoscopy was positive.  “The mass was 9 cm by 5 cm and was growing and threatening to cut off the bronchus,” Christener said.

He began chemotherapy April 11, and was released five days later. His oncologist is Maithili Rao, MD. His radiation oncologist, Mona Karim MD, vice chair of radiation oncology at Morristown Medical Center, recommended he wait a week to begin radiotherapy treatment until the TrueBeam system was available.

Sign Up for E-News

Dr. Karim said “Surgery is not an option” for those with small cell lung cancer. The ideal “treatment would be a combination of chemo and radiation.” Radiation is “his curative intense treatment” and with the TrueBeam, “We are able to do better targeting and faster, more accurate treatments,” than before, she said.

TrueBeam delivers the radiation faster and the patient is not on the table as long, she said. The treatment lasts less than five minutes, as opposed to 10 to 20 minutes on other machines. There are no body molds or marking on the skin for targeting purposes, “Now we use body anatomy,” Dr. Karim said. It’s better for the patient because it’s more comfortable and the reproducibility of the position is better,” Dr. Karim said.

Dr. Karim said another advantage is the ability to adjust treatments because the machine takes a CT scan with every treatment.  

Christener said, “It is very rapid and I am very relaxed” and, that after his second treatment, “You could actually see my tumor had shrunk.”

According to Dr. Karim, the TrueBeam system has a wide range of capability from Intensity-modulated treatments and Rapid Arc to Stereotactic Radio Surgery, “all of the state-of-the-art techniques.”


A Team Approach

A former volunteer firefighter in Andover Township, who was a construction project manager, when he was diagnosed, Christener has a positive outlook and praise for the cancer center and its staff. “I have not met one person from this hospital that hasn’t been helpful, pleasant and gracious in one form or another … It’s a team. I haven’t met anybody here who wants to march against the grain,” he said.

He told a story of what happened when an RN in the Infusion Center discovered he had a hard to find port for administrating his chemotherapy. She made sure when she left for the day that any nurse who needed to find that port knew where it was and, “When I came in the next day, a new nurse said, ‘I know you, you are the man with the hard to find port.’ Now they all recognize me by my port. It’s a wonderful thing that someone cared enough to do that.”

Asked if he had anything to add, he said, “I live life every day as if it is going to be my last one,” but that doesn’t mean he’s given up, he’s looking for a job as a construction project manager when he is done with therapy.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Possible Snow Overnight Monday in Randolph, Again

March 12, 2018

RANDOLPH, NJ- A  winter weather advisory remains in effect from 8:00 pm this evening until 10:00 am Tuesday according the the National Weather Service.

There is a coastal storm that will be in the area Monday evening and into the Tuesday morning commute. The current forecast data suggests that  the area may experience rain before a changeover to all ...

County College of Morris Performing Arts and Cultural Events Spring 2018 Season

March 16, 2018

APRIL 2018:

Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Wednesday through Saturday, April 11-14
7:30 p.m., Saturday matinee 2 p.m. Student Community Center Dragonetti Auditorium

The Broadway Theatre is crumbling and closing! To pay homage, past performers of the “Weismann Follies” have gathered there for a reunion and final goodbye to the historic landmark. Journey through ...

Morristown Happenings: Things to do in Morristown this Weekend

March 10, 2018

MORRISTOWN, NJ -  It's been a rough week for residents due to power outages and storm related damages. Maybe a little distraction? Morristown has parades, dances, farmers markets, crafts, and much more this weekend.  


Friday March 9

Celebrate Dr. Seuss (rescheduled from 3/9); Morris County Library; Celebrity Readers from 3:30pm - 4:45pm

Morristown High ...

Randolph Police Blotter Includes Active Warrants in February

March 14, 2018

On January 31, 2018, Nicholas, Bernardo, age 19 of Rockaway, NJ was arrested during a motor vehicle stop by P.O. Greco on active warrants issued out of the Township of Randolph and the Boro of Rockaway. Mr. Bernardo was transported to the Randolph Police Department and processed. Mr. Bernardo was committed to the Morris County Correctional Facility in default of $1,300 bail.

On February 1, ...

Mayor Mark H. Forstenhaulser of Randolph In Close Contact with JCP&L : Lost Power, Some Areas Could be for Days

March 4, 2018

Randolph,NJ-Due to the continuing power outages the Township Community Center located on Calais Road will be open again tomorrow, March 4 at 9:00 a.m.   

Mayor Mark H. Forstenhaulser Shared the following statement with TAP into a Randolph:

JCP&L will provide free water and ice to residents without power at area supermarkets by going to the courtesy ...

Floating Classroom Will Help Roxbury Kids Embrace 'Their' Lake Hopatcong

March 14, 2018

ROXBURY, NJ – There are plenty of kids living in Roxbury who’ve never been on Lake Hopatcong, says lake buff Marty Kane. He’s even confident many don’t realize their town borders the big lake.

That’s one of the reasons Kane, chairman of the Lake Hopatcong Foundation Board of Trustees, is bubbling with excitement about the upcoming launch of the ...

Upcoming Events

Sat, March 17, 10:00 AM

Primrose School of Randolph, randolph

Annual Easter Egg Hunt

Arts & Entertainment


Sun, March 18, 2:00 PM

Randolph Township Free Public Library, Randolph

Hank Shapiro on Piano

Community Calendar

Randolph Speech and Debate Team Attend Harvard Invitational

March 15, 2018

RANDOLPH, NJ- The Randolph Speech and Debate team drove up to Harvard to compete at the 44th Annual Harvard National Forensics Tournament on February 16-19. Bringing in its largest group of students in years, – around forty competitors – the team was quite successful. 

The Harvard invitational is the largest forensics tournaments of the season, bringing in hundreds of teams ...

Alex Wang Wins Annual “MR. RHS” competition: Wang, Sings a Song for a Teacher to Seal the Win

March 3, 2018

Randolph, NJ -- On a night that was long awaited due to a snow storm canceling the original date, Alex Wang came out on top in the annual “Mr. RHS” competition on Feb. 20  at Randolph High School. 

“Honestly, Mr. RHS was a lot of fun and it was really cool to see all of the talents that my fellow competitors had. It was definitely an honor to win Mr. RHS ...

Randolph Recreation Wrestlers Shine at NJ Kids State Championships

March 15, 2018

RANDOLPH, NJ- 9 Randolph Rec Wrestlers qualified for the NJ Kid’s Wrestling Championship Wrestling Tournament this weekend.

With 12 Wrestling Mats and 1000+ Wrestlers, this 2 day event in Trenton is considered one of the toughest in the country.

"The results below are monumental for any program or club and are a testament to ...

Health Alert: Child with Measles Traveled to Newark Airport on March 12

March 16, 2018

TRENTON, NJ — If you were at Newark Liberty International Airport on Monday, March 12 between 12:45 and 9 p.m., you may have been exposed to measles and should contact your health care provider.

The N.J. Department of Health has issued a public health alert after a child with a confirmed case of measles — a highly contagious disease — arrived in Terminal B at Newark Liberty ...

Randolph Lions Club Collecting New / Used Golf Clubs and Balls

The Randolph Lions club is collecting new or used golf clubs and balls to support Bunkers in Bagdhdad.

Drop off is from March 1 through April 14  at the Randolph Community Center 30 Calais Road Randolph N.J. Center is open M-F 8:30 to 4:30

Donations will be sent to our brave service men and women currently serving in combat zones. Equipment is also supplied to Wounded ...

Morris Museum Exhibits Student Art from The Peck School

MORRISTOWN, NJ  – Throughout the month of March, the Morris Museum, in its North Gallery, will be highlighting a range of student work showcasing the arts program at The Peck School in Morristown. The exhibit, entitled “Step into Spring: Budding Artists of The Peck School,” includes painting, sculpture and woodworking from students in Peck’s K to 8 program.

The Teachers and Support Staff  of Randolph Township Schools Ask For Support

Each day the teachers and support staff of Randolph School District work hard to help our students succeed at their highest level.  On any given day all one has to do is view the Randolph Education Association’s (REA) social media sites to see and read about the tremendous accomplishments our students and your children are making.  These media posts are just a small fraction of ...

Randolph Board Of Education’s Statement Concerning On-Going Negotiations With The Randolph Education Association

RANDOLPH, NJ- The Following Statement was Sent by The Board of Education on Feb. 28:

The conversation to establish a contractual agreement between the Randolph education Association (“REA”) and the Randolph Board of Education (“RBoE”) began in the winter of 2017. Early meetings lead to successful agreements on many details of the contract. The REA postponed several ...


AtlantiCast: Episode 13

On this episode of AtlantiCast, new clinical studies in the fields of cardiology and immunotherapy, national and statewide recognitions for Atlantic Health System medical centers and the inaugural AtlantiCast Collab Challenge!