Cancer-Free Since 2011: Why I Chose Proton Therapy
After a visit with his primary care doctor in 2006, Dave Stevens learned his prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level was abnormal.
“You’ve got cancer and I’m going to give you a book to read about what’s involved with surgery,” Dave recalled his urologist telling him.
After reading the book his doctor recommended, Dave decided that surgery was not an option to treat his cancer. For the next four years, Dave had annual checkups to monitor his PSA levels.
During this time, Dave heard about proton therapy from a friend who had been treated in another state. Dave’s friend explained how proton therapy treatment was less invasive and had fewer side effects than surgery. He also shared how he was able to play golf most afternoons after his morning proton therapy treatments.
From time to time, Dave would drive by the MD Anderson Proton Therapy Center as it was under construction. By August 2010, Dave’s annual test results showed an increased PSA level. His biopsy revealed a Gleason score of 9. The Gleason scores range from one to 10 with 10 being the highest. The higher the Gleason score, the more likely that cancer will grow and can spread quickly.
“You’re going to have to do something about your cancer now!” Dave’s urologist said.
Dave’s number one reason for choosing proton therapy
By this time, the Proton Therapy Center was up and running so Dave decided to be treated there.
“With proton therapy radiation, doctors can control where it hits. Unlike traditional radiation where it comes out through the other side of my body,” Dave explained.
Proton therapy radiation has the ability to precisely target the cancer cells with minimal impact to surrounding healthy tissue and organs such as the bladder and rectum. For Dave, the minimal side effects were the number one reason why he chose proton therapy. Because of the minimal side effects, he was able to continue working at his law practice each day following his morning proton treatments.
“I didn’t want to have any downtime from the office. I’m a solo practitioner. If I’m not here, nothing gets done,” Dave said.
Dave received a total of 39 proton therapy treatments over a course of eight weeks.
“I’m very glad I made the decision to choose proton therapy,” Dave shared.
Today, Dave is occupied with his law and accounting practice. He loves taking pictures and spending time with his five grandchildren. He has been cancer-free since 2011.
With proton therapy radiation, doctors can control where it hits. Unlike traditional radiation where it comes out through the other side of my body.
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