Sparta man beats cancer with proton therapy

In New Jersey, about 14,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year. With an escalating PSA (prostate-specific antigen) rate for the past ten years, 65 year-old Matt Iacobazzo of Sparta was not shocked when a two-centimeter tumor was found eight months ago in his prostate. Iacobazzo’s personal journey of dealing with his illness is one he is eager to share with others.

Instead of immediately choosing the more popular forms of treatment like traditional radiation or surgery, Iacobazzo took his time to explore options: “When you find out you have cancer, there is a tremendous amount of pressure to do something. But this is slow-growing. I went on-line and did a lot of research. And a friend and I starting discussing proton therapy.”

Iacobazzo researched the ProCure Proton Therapy Center in Somerset and was encouraged by his findings. “The whole procedure was explained to me. I found it to be non-invasive, and they were almost holistic — I believed in this therapy after checking it out,” he said. He signed on becoming the ninth patient to be treated there.

“Protons are the most advanced and elegant way of delivering radiation treatment,” explained Dr.Brian Chon, medical director of the ProCure Proton therapy center in Somerset. “Protons are different from X-rays — they come into the body and stop, sparing healthy tissue — this is where the benefit lies.”

The procedure does not hurt and like standard radiation, it is done over eight weeks, five days a week at 30 minutes a session. “The most commons side effects are bowel, fatigue and rectal bleeding, but it is minimized with this treatment. And secondary cancer levels can be reduced by 50 percent,” said Chon.

Iacobazzo would like to see more people looking into this form of treatment and encourages others to call the center and find out if it is right for them. “I want to share this knowledge with my neighbors and men who don’t talk about this. This treatment saves your life and your sensuality,” said Iacobazzo. “And it is covered by insurance and Medicaid/Medicare”, he added. Chon is very pleased with Iacobazzo’s results: “Matt is an amazing guy. The wisest people in the world give us their trust to take care of them. I am extremely proud that we have taken care of sick people.”

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