Jack is an otherwise healthy, active man who noticed a rash on his arms and legs last July. When his doctor discovered a swollen lymph node on his neck, she suggested Jack have some tests. Three weeks before his wedding, his doctor delivered the shocking news.
“My doctor told me I had a mass in my chest the size of an orange,” says Jack. “I felt very ‘doom and gloom’ about it all, because I didn’t know if my condition was life-threatening, and I worried I would not be able to have the wedding.”
Hodgkin’s lymphoma is a cancer that starts in the body’s white blood cells, called lymphocytes, which are part of the immune system. The main treatments for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma are chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Depending on the person’s age, general health, stage, and location of the cancer, one or both of these treatments might be used.
Just weeks before their wedding, Jack and Emily were faced with battling cancer, a challenge young adults should never have to face, yet alone not before one of the most important events of their lives. Jack began chemotherapy on August 18 near his parents’ home in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Jack and Emily got married on August 27.
For patients with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, chemotherapy followed by radiation therapy is known to provide the best chances for long term control. As Jack underwent chemotherapy, he researched his options for radiation therapy, and he grew increasingly concerned about the risks and side effects of traditional radiation.
“Traditional radiation therapy scared me because my tumor was close to my heart and lungs,” says Jack. “As I dug a little deeper into the different types of radiation therapy, I discovered proton therapy, and I wanted to learn more.”