Treated 2005 • Posted 2008 • Updated 2015 & 2019 & 2020
"I had surgery at age 57 and my prostate cancer returned. Proton therapy did the job."
I was diagnosed with prostate cancer in March 2000 at the age of 57. My urologist outlined several treatment options, but he never mentioned proton therapy. I chose surgery because I didn't know a better option existed. My radical prostatectomy was done in July 2000.
Before surgery, my urologist informed me that the cancer might return in three to four years. Unfortunately, he was right. My PSA started to climb at the beginning of 2005. My doctor recommended waiting until my PSA climbed higher before seeking salvage treatment. He suggested radiation or hormone treatments while I sat by with "watchful waiting. " For me, waiting was not an option. And soon I was fortunate to learn about proton therapy from a friend here in the Chicago area. He was listening to a morning radio show and an author (Bill Vancil - a former proton patient and BOB member) was talking about his book that related his experience with prostate cancer treatment at Loma Linda University Cancer Center in Loma Linda, CA.
I contacted Loma Linda and I was told to send my medical records to them for review. I appeared to be a viable candidate for treatment so I traveled to California for a consultation. I was accepted into the program but first I had to complete two procedures (a ProstaScint with Fusion and a marking for reference of the prostate bed with small gold chips since I no longer had a prostate) before beginning the treatment.
I began proton treatment in August 2005 and completed my 38 "salvage" treatments in October. I was treated with care and respect by all of the people that I came in contact with at Loma Linda. I swam at the Drayson Center exercise facility almost every day and I felt healthier than I had in years. Even though I continued to provide engineering service to some of my clients back in Illinois, I honestly felt like I was on vacation.
My PSA has remained undetectable since my treatments at Loma Linda. I will be forever grateful and thankful for the professionals at LLUCC.
I am now 72-years-old and doing fine. I am 15 years past my radical prostatectomy and 10 years past my "salvage" proton treatment at LLUCC (to treat the cancer that had returned after surgery). To this day, I feel lucky and grateful to have found proton beam therapy and I remember my experience at LLUCC with fondness and wonder at this extraordinary technology. I only wish that I'd discovered proton beam therapy before my surgery! My PSA has been "undetectable" ever since leaving LLUCC.
I continue to work and I hope to keep my office door open as long as possible. My wife and I enjoy our two grandsons, ages five and two.
I am doing fine. It’s been 14 years since I received salvage treatment at Loma Linda and my PSA remains undetectable. I feel very fortunate to this day that I was a part of the incredible experience of proton beam therapy. I am still in awe of the ground breaking technology that was created in Loma Linda.
I also enjoy telling people about the benefits of proton beam therapy, so I've volunteered to have my name and contact information included on one of the BOB's reference lists.
Since completion of my prostate cancer salvage proton treatment in 2005, I've talked to several people about my experience at LLUCC. I still feel very lucky to have learned about proton therapy. I'm also glad to pass along my strong beliefs about the benefits of proton therapy to others!