Guy W. Farmer: My Loma Linda adventure
For the Nevada Appeal
As you read this column I’ll be preparing to undergo two months’ worth of proton beam radiation treatments for prostate cancer at the Loma Linda University Medical Center in Southern California. Fortunately, my prospects for a complete recovery are excellent.
Let me tell you about LLUMC and why I chose to go there for my anti-cancer treatments. A well-established and highly regarded teaching hospital affiliated with the Seventh Day Adventist Church, LLUMC pioneered highly targeted proton therapy for the treatment of malignant tumors of the prostate and other organs. This state-of-the-art medical technology has been in operation at Loma Linda since the early 1990s and its results are quite impressive.
Cancer is always a scary proposition, but the good news is that prostate cancer is eminently curable if detected and treated in its early stages. According to the American Cancer Society, the five-year survival rate for men whose cancer is confined to the prostate at diagnosis (as mine is), is 100 percent. So the odds are way in my favor unlike other forms of this sinister disease, such as pancreatic cancer, which claimed the life of my late wife, Consuelo, six years ago.
I owe my early diagnosis and positive prognosis to my GP, Dr. Colleen Lyons, who insisted on regular PSA blood tests, and my urologist, Dr. Jim Cunningham, who ordered a prostate biopsy when my PSA scores started to rise. For my part, I urge all of my male readers to have annual PSA tests.
The “Bible” for those considering proton treatments is a book titled “You Can Beat Prostate Cancer, and You Don’t Need Surgery to Do It,” by Robert J. Marckini, a Massachusetts businessman who was successfully treated at Loma Linda a few years ago. Marckini opted for non-invasive proton therapy after thoroughly researching all of his treatment options. Decisive factors were that he would be able to continue his normal activities during treatment with minimal side effects.
Those were important considerations for me, too, along with enthusiastic recommendations from two local friends, Dr. Arden Heffernan, a dentist and Civil Air Patrol pilot, and Lyon County District Judge Bill Rogers, both of whom remain active and cancer-free several years after their proton treatments at LLUMC.
Although Loma Linda proton therapy is right for me, I hasten to recognize that several other effective cancer treatment options are now available at Carson Tahoe Regional Healthcare. Each case is different involving decisions between patients and their doctors. Whatever happens on federal health care reform, I don’t want bureaucrats getting between me and my doctors.
• Guy W. Farmer, of Carson City, is positive and optimistic as he begins proton therapy at LLUMC Monday morning.