A routine annual visit to his doctor in 2012 led Fred Duncan to discover he had an elevated PSA. A local support group in Houston suggested he visit MD Anderson Cancer Center for treatment. After undergoing exams, he was diagnosed with low-grade prostate cancer. It was then suggested he visit The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center for further analysis. After discussing his treatment options with MD Anderson, Fred chose to go on Active Surveillance for prostate cancer that consisted of quarterly check-ups to monitor his cancer.
Early detection is key
After extensive research on his medical condition, Fred chose proton therapy treatment because of its ability to precisely target the tumor in his prostate and destroy cancer cells without harming surrounding healthy tissue and organs. He was encouraged to learn that with early detection, prostate cancer has a five-year survival rate of nearly 99 percent. Additionally, Fred consulted with other proton therapy patients who had successful outcomes. He then decided that proton therapy would bring the same success rates or better as the other alternative treatments. More importantly, proton therapy would have minimal side effects on him and his everyday life.
Fred was able to continue his daily work in his real estate profession during the course of his 39 proton therapy treatments.
Paying it forward
During treatment, Fred met many of the other patients and became involved with the ProtonPals, the MD Anderson Proton Therapy Center's patient support and outreach group. Fred and his wife, Judy, took an active role helping others undergoing treatment.
“We are glad to help others in their successful journey with their treatment and healing,” Fred said. “After their treatment is completed, we all celebrate them as one of our graduates.” By having this support system, those undergoing and completing treatment have a way to stay connected through their journey and be an encouragement to the newly diagnosed. Hearing personal experiences from those that have been there and sharing similar experiences to discuss proton treatment ease the anxieties and stressors that go along with cancer treatment. Forming friends that last a lifetime is part of what makes the ProtonPals group so special to so many.
Today, Fred is back to hiking, walking, hunting, fly fishing, field trials with his Labrador and traveling Texas.
"By being a co-leader of the ProtonPals patient support group, we are glad to help others in their successful journey with their treatment and healing."