“The location of my cancerous lymph node made me an ideal candidate for proton therapy because it limited excessive amounts of radiation to my heart and esophagus – which can lead to damaging side effects that have significant physical and financial consequences over time. During my seven-week treatment course of proton therapy, I experienced little discomfort, limited to a sore throat when swallowing. Today, I am living cancer free with absolutely zero side effects.”
You’ve heard the old saying when referring to any kind of journey, “Remember this is a marathon, not a sprint.” And this saying couldn’t be more true for Chuck Martinez, a two-time cancer survivor and running enthusiast, thanks to access to proton beam radiation therapy.
First diagnosed with aggressive bladder cancer at the young age of 30, Chuck underwent immunotherapy and had his bladder reconstructed. The treatment worked and Chuck was declared cancer free.
However, the good news didn’t last long. Just a few short years later, his urologist found a mass on the lower portion of his right lung. Immediately, Chuck underwent surgery to remove the entire middle portion of his lung and thankfully, the surgeons were successful in removing all of the physical tumor, but to be sure the cancer was gone, they recommended he undergo an aggressive round of chemotherapy.
Chuck and his wife decided to seek a second opinion at MD Anderson Cancer Center as his wife’s employer had an excellent insurance plan that allowed for complete cancer care coverage. His oncologist ordered a battery of tests, which revealed a lymph node that tested positive for the same form of cancer in his lung.
Chuck’s disappointment quickly turned to hope when his oncologist informed him he was an excellent candidate for proton beam therapy- a treatment he had never heard of before. The location of the lymph node is his chest made him an ideal candidate for proton therapy as traditional radiation therapy exposes the heart and esophagus to excessive amounts of radiation- which can lead to damaging side effects that have significant physical and financial consequences over time.
The oncologist and multidisciplinary medical team quickly devised a treatment plan.
Within weeks of his first appointment, Chuck began his proton therapy. During his seven-week treatment course, he experienced little discomfort, limited to a sore throat when swallowing. To bolster the effectiveness of the proton treatment, Chuck also received a course of chemotherapy and, as result, experienced mild fatigue and queasiness.
However, for the most part, life during his seven-week treatment went about as usual and Chuck felt back to normal within two weeks of his treatment ending.
Chuck has now been cancer free since 2007.