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Meet Our Survivors: Esther Lombrozo

Esther Lombrozo, Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

In 2007, Esther Lombrozo of Guadalajara, Mexico, was busy living her life – taking care of her family, spending time with friends and working. She exercised regularly and lived a healthy lifestyle with her children and her husband. When she noticed a lump in her neck, she thought she would have it checked out by her family physician, just to be safe. When that lump turned out to be cancer, she was “petrified.”

Esther LombrozoWith a diagnosis of Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Esther traveled from her home in Guadalajara to Houston for treatment with an oncologist. After undergoing several rounds of chemotherapy, her physician sent her to the MD Anderson Proton Therapy Center for an advanced form of radiation treatment called proton therapy – a decision that, she believes, ultimately saved her life.

Though Esther was not familiar with MD Anderson or proton therapy, she was impressed with the high level of care she received at the MD Anderson Proton Therapy Center. “I was fascinated with the staff and the technology,” she said. “The team at the center provided a lot of support, which made my treatment less stressful. I even met with the Proton Therapy Center’s dietician at the beginning of the process to determine what I needed to eat to stay strong and healthy while receiving proton therapy.”

Proton therapy can be a good treatment option for many types of cancers, including Hodgkin’s  lymphoma, esophageal and lung cancer and other types of tumors, because it uses beams of protons to deliver powerful radiation directly to the tumor, destroying cancer cells while sparing surrounding healthy tissue and vital organs.

“With proton therapy, we are able to precisely target the tumor with more potent doses of radiation,” explains James Cox, M.D., a professor in Radiation Oncology and Esther’s treating physician. “This is especially beneficial for patients like Esther, whose tumor was in her neck near her esophagus, which is very sensitive to the effects of radiation. Being able to prescribe the dose based more on how much radiation is needed to destroy the tumor and less on how tolerant normal surrounding tissues and organs are to radiation exposure, really gives our patients an advantage.”

After her proton therapy treatment, Esther returned to her family in Guadalajara.  Her treatment was successful and she is now back home living life as she lived it before she was stricken with Hodgkin’s lymphoma – she is even back to her normal exercise routine. But, she says, some things have changed. “You live more intensely. You value every detail – each instant.”

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Since treating our first patient in May 2006, the dedicated team at the Proton Therapy Center has helped countless patients overcome cancer and get back to living their lives. Click here to read our patient survivor stories.

© 2016 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center