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Proton therapy: Radiation without the side effects?

By HERWriter
 
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For years, 60-year-old Frank Mackinson had been experiencing strange symptoms that would come and go. Two years ago, as he was driving down a local road in his hometown of Bound Brook, New Jersey, he was forced to pull over after noticing he had double vision in his right eye.

“It just came and it went after 30 seconds,” Mackinson said. “But it made me pull over for a minute, like, ‘Jeez, what's going on here?’"

Mackinson was losing vision in his right eye and hearing in his left ear and became determined to figure out what was wrong. He was misdiagnosed several times with vertigo and sinus infections.

“I actually had for the last year strange neck pains and a little imbalance,” Mackinson said. “I had been to doctors five or six times throughout this past year.”

Finally, Mackinson’s neurologist sent him for an MRI that revealed the cause of his symptoms – a large tumor growing from his sinuses.

“The word ‘cancer’ just tightened me right up,” he said. “My wife Irene is a breast cancer survivor for 15 years, so being around her experience is a little optimism that it's not the end.”
- Frank Mackinson

“It was actually growing into the brain,” said Dr. Brian Chon, a radiation oncologist and medical director of ProCure in Somerset, New Jersey, who treated Mackinson. “So he actually presented with double vision, loss of hearing, difficulty swallowing, loss of taste – all because of the nerves that were being compressed by the tumor.”

Mackinson was diagnosed with solitary plasmacytoma, which is a type of cancer that grows from the bones of the face and is usually treated with radiation.

“The word ‘cancer’ just tightened me right up,” he said. “My wife Irene is a breast cancer survivor for 15 years, so being around her experience is a little optimism that it's not the end.”

Because of the delicate nature of the location of Mackinson’s tumor, his oncologist recommended he look into proton therapy as a treatment option. And as luck would have it, ProCure, one of only 10 proton therapy centers in the country was about to open just five miles from Mackinson’s home.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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