United Health Care is insurance. My PSA went from 2.74 ng/ml to 5.1 ng/ml in 15 months. My uro went through the list of options and may have even mentioned protons but recommended seeds.
Since I live near Chicago Prostate Cancer Center in Westmont, IL, I went there for my first support group meeting. This clinic does seeds. Does them very well. Thousands from all over the world. I also attended three US TOO support groups in the Chicago area. It appeared to me that 50% had seeds (Brachytherapy) and about 30% had surgery and the rest X-Ray (photon) radiation. None did protons. A book called 100 questions about Prostate Cancer didn't even mention proton beam radiation.
I scanned the front and back on my UHC insurance card and 9 pages of diagnostic information. I then e-mailed these document to eight places. Three that did Cyber Knife, two that did proton beam, and two that did da Vinci robotic surgery.
It is all about the side effects. There is no need to do surgery at my stage. Too many side effects. Same with X-Rays. I was almost ready to do Cyber Knife in Naple Community Hospital when the Loma Linda nurse called and said " Cyber Knife is still X-Rays - it goes all the way through you". Loma Linda has 15 years experience in protons. 30% of the worlds proton patients went there. UHC has a contract with them as well.
I just finished treatment 22 of 44 yesterday. No side effects yet.
I graduated from Loma Linda protons (gantry 3) 30 days ago. 44 treatments later I felt fine. Minor rectal bleeding that suppositories relieved. I can't believe how there were no side effects. It's the Bragg Peak. Protons hit the target and nothing else. X-Rays hit too much.
It's been 11 months since my last treament at Loma Linda. My PSA is 0.6 and still doing great. Illinois has 3 proton sites planned for sometime in the next 5 years.
As a Vietnam vet, prostate cancer is considered Agent Orange related. The VA gave me a nice tax free disability check. I told two other vets and they applied as well. This applies to anyone who served from 1962 to 1975. The VA considers Agent Orange to be presumptively connected.
Still no side effects except some rectal bleeding, as if I had hemorroids. Proton radiation is by far the best treatment choice. I have had others who told me they wish they had done more research rather than surgery. I went to Loma Linda, proton capital of the world.They are getting ready to open two proton centers in Illinois next year, 10 miles apart. Batavia area next to Fermi Lab. NIU and a private corp.
My Loma Linda visit almost 3 years ago for Proton Radiation remains the best decision I ever made. PSA is 0.40.
I did have one minor side effect - some rectal bleeding that occurred two years later. A colonoscopy showed radiation proctitis (burns). The doctor fused them during the colonoscopy (laser??).
So far, so good. This was the only side effect.
Four years post proton at Loma Linda. Never regretted this treatment choice. There is now a proton center in Illinois near Bativia near DeKalb NIU.
I remember a fellow Loma Linda patient who was an X-Ray (photon) radiologist. He chose protons over X-ray because of the Bragg Peak. This is why protons don't burn skin. They work at the target and stop there. X-rays are 80% hot at skin level and 15% at target and keep going through the body. That's why radiation keeps moving the ray so as not to burn a hole through your body. [This is a fairly simplistic explanation of a complex issue. There are no published, independent studies that demonstrate the superiority of proton beam over photon beam therapies, provided that experts are providing the therapy.]
Proton radiation is the way to go. I am 5 years post Loma Linda and doing fine. Still no side effects. I live in Wheeling, Illinois. Central DuPage Hospital now has a proton therapy center and another is opening 10 miles away soon. The DuPage center is associated with NIU and was therefore partially subsidized by taxes. The next one (10 miles away) is private enterprise.
It's been almost 6 years since Loma Linda. Still convinced protons is the best treatment option. Still no side effects. They just built a proton center at Central DuPage Hospital about 30 miles West of Chicago.
It's been 7 years now since Loma Linda. I did have minor hemoroid bleeding 18 months post treatment but it was resolved during a routine colonoscopic laser treament. Never returned. That and minor radiation Proctitis (internal burn scars).
It's been 8 years since Loma Linda. I'm 66 and feel fine. Still working. No incontinence or ED issues just normal aging stuff. Illinois has 2 proton centers now.
It's been 8-1/2 years since Loma Linda and the only side effects are those associated with getting older. I am 67 now and remain convinced that protons and the Bragg Peak was my best decision. I go to the Hines VA.
The radiation proctitus (minor radiation burns) seems to have disappeared based on my last colonoscopy. I just turned 68, retired and just had a total hip replacement and still no side effects. Never regretted the proton radiation.
Bill's e-mail address is: bperrill1244 AT yahoo.com (replace "AT" with "@")