When Joe Landry’s younger brother was diagnosed with prostate cancer, his time and attention turned to helping his brother find the best care and treatment for the cancer. His research and resourcefulness paid off, as Joe was diagnosed with prostate cancer a year later.
Joe, a retiree, had spent 37 years with an oil and gas company and, with the exception of periodic bouts with prostatitis and kidney stones, he’d enjoyed 70 years in pretty good health. However, he knew from previous annual exams that his prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels were steadily increasing each year.
During a regular annual visit with his urologist, Joe’s PSA level alarmed doctors and a biopsy confirmed their suspicions. He was diagnosed with early stage prostate cancer and was given the option of three months of “watchful waiting” to consult with doctors and consider his options for treatment.
While he weighed his options – radical surgery and various forms of radiation therapy – Joe ran into a friend he hadn’t seen in about seven years. “He had been diagnosed with prostate cancer and been treated at a proton therapy center. He had nothing but positive results and experiences to report. “A radiation vacation is what he called it”, Joe remembers.
Shortly afterward, Joe self-referred to MD Anderson’s Proton Therapy Center. After discussing his options, Joe determined that proton therapy would offer him the fewest side effects, if any. However, what struck him most was care he received during treatment.
Joe received 42 treatments over the course of 8½ weeks. Other than minor urinary irritation, he had no problems and was so pleased with the process and his subsequent results that he formed ProtonPals, a support and outreach group for Proton Therapy Center patients. He wanted to stay in touch with the new friends he’d made during treatment and to provide education and support to the newly diagnosed.