Every year at his annual checkup, Tony Callagin's prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels kept increasing. Once he reached a level of 12, his doctor requested additional tests. A biopsy would reveal prostate cancer. "I've always considered myself a healthy and active person, so I had trouble accepting the news," says Tony. "My urologist recommended surgery to remove the cancer, but that seemed barbaric to me. I knew there had to be other options."
Choosing proton therapy
Tony researched all the treatment options for his prostate cancer, and made the decision to come to MD Anderson Cancer Center. After meeting with his care team, his doctors recommended proton therapy for his treatment plan. Proton therapy could deliver a high dose of radiation to the tumor while minimizing exposure to the rest of his body.
In 2018, Tony completed 40 treatments over the course of eight weeks, and remains cancer free.
"Being able to maintain my normal quality of life during treatment was essential to me," he says. "Throughout proton therapy treatment, I was able to keep working as a network engineer and stay active by swimming daily. I also continued to serve as the musical director at my church."
Joining the ProtonPals support group
While a patient at the MD Anderson Proton Therapy Center, Tony joined the ProtonPals support group and enjoyed weekly dinners with fellow patients. "I'm so thankful for the support of the group, and for the lifelong friends I've made there," says Tony. "Having the support from past and present patients made a positive difference in my experience throughout treatment."
"I'm thankful for the support of the ProtonPals group, and for the lifelong friends I've made there."