Ted Feng felt fine in the fall of 2007 when he went to his local doctor for a regular checkup.
But a routine blood test that day detected elevated prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels. A subsequent biopsy confirmed his doctor’s suspicions: Ted had prostate cancer.
MD Anderson Proton Therapy Center lures Californian
Shocked by his diagnosis, Ted immediately began exploring his treatment options. Ted’s doctors said that he was a good candidate for proton therapy, a non-invasive treatment option with fewer side effects than traditional treatments. So he focused on facilities offering that type of treatment.
Although he lives in California, Ted chose to come to MD Anderson’s Proton Therapy Center — both because of its expertise and the bedside manner of its doctors and technicians.
“I found MD Anderson to be the best place for my treatment,” he says. “The staff are well-trained and they make an effort to be sensitive and helpful.”
Paying it forward by supporting other survivors
Ted’s decision proved to be a wise one. He was treated with both proton-beam radiation and short-course hormonal therapy through 2008. His prostate cancer has been in remission ever since.
Now, Ted shares his experience with other men. About five years ago, he began volunteering to work with newly diagnosed patients through myCancerConnection, MD Anderson’s one-on-one support program for patients and caregivers.
“I felt that my knowledge might help those who have just learned they have prostate cancer,” Ted says. “It might be useful to help them make decisions, lessen their anxiety, or just make the whole process easier.”
Advice tailored to each patient
Ted’s philosophy as a volunteer is to provide comfort and advice that is just as personalized as the treatment patients receive while they are at MD Anderson.
“I ask them to tell me about their situations first,” Ted says. “I try to find out what exactly their concerns or fears are, and then I share my experience with them.”
Making the most of the Bayou City
One of the concerns Ted hears about most often is from out-of-towners who are concerned about navigating a city as large as Houston.
“I tell them I also had fear and concerns,” Ted says. “But MD Anderson’s social work counselors can provide patients with information on lodging, transportation and so on. The City of Houston also has many amenities to offer, such as museums, shopping centers, parks, restaurants and theaters.”
Ted was particularly impressed with the free outdoor concerts sometimes offered in October and the music/singing sessions provided for patients at MD Anderson.
“I am quite fond of Houston, except for its climate,” Ted says. “Out-of-town patients receiving treatment at MD Anderson might as well make the trip a combination of medical treatment and vacation, if they can.”
Information and assistance for traveling to Houston are available for both U.S. patients and those traveling from other countries.