Treated 2011 · Posted 2014

"[My wife and I] give daily thanks for our good fortune in discovering proton beam therapy at Loma Linda and for the positive outcome of my treatment."

I discovered I had prostate cancer in August 2010. My PSA had risen from 4.1 to 6.5 in six months - to 7.4 by the time I began proton treatment in December. My Gleason score was 6. One of twelve biopsy cores showed cancer.

When you hear the word "cancer" associated with your name, it gets your attention. I immediately got on the Internet and read everything I could find about prostate cancer and the treatment options. I called every friend I knew who had gone through prostate cancer treatment. The one thing I knew for certain was I would not be content to watch and wait. I won't go into details on the months I spent reading and interviewing surgeons and radiologists. It was a confluence of circumstances that brought me to proton therapy and Loma Linda University Medical Center in California. I think I had a guardian angel looking out for me.

My wife and I flew to Loma Linda and were absolutely impressed with the quality of the staff, the facilities, and the program. Once getting used to the routine and the "balloon" experience, the treatment regimen was a breeze. I had a wonderful ten-week "radiation vacation" at Loma Linda where I played golf 3 to 4 times a week and participated fully in the many support activities they have there for their proton patients. I formed lasting friendships with a wonderful group of men that were all in the same boat as me.

I was told to expect my post-treatment four-month PSA to decrease by 50%. Mine was down 63%. Now more than three years after treatment, my PSA is 0.25. Can't get much better than that! I had none of the incontinency problems still faced by friends who underwent the surgical option.

I continue to lead a wonderful life (with new appreciation for how lucky I am). Living in Hawaii, I play golf 2 to 3 times a week. I have been able to pursue my photography hobby with extensive photo trips to Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, Yosemite, Banff, Lake Louise, etc. One of the most fun, was flying by bush pilot into Lake Clark National Park Alaska to photograph Alaskan Brown Bears. You can see samples of my work here. My wife and I are going to Scandinavia for three weeks this fall and then heading to Florida in November/December to photograph the migratory bird life.

My wife and I are extraordinarily pleased with our decision to have my cancer treated with proton therapy at Loma Linda. We give daily thanks for our good fortune in discovering proton beam therapy at Loma Linda and for the positive outcome of my treatment.

Here is a photo of Bud on one of his recent photography trips. See all of Bud's amazing photos on his website.

Proton Therapy Testimonial - Bud Ralston