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Proton Therapy Enables Young Man to Celebrate Life and Enjoy a Long-Awaited Honeymoon

For 27-year-old Jack Sosinski, cancer was the furthest thing from his mind as he was planning his wedding in August 2022.  On August 4, three weeks before his wedding day, Jack learned that he had Hodgkin’s lymphoma.


Through a series of fortunate events, Jack, a senior data analyst living in Durham, North Carolina, connected with the New York Proton Center and underwent life-saving proton therapy to treat his cancer. Today, Jack is cancer free and is looking very much forward to his honeymoon and living a long life with his wife, Emily.

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.”

Proton Therapy: Safely Targets the Tumor without Damaging Surrounding Tissues

Proton therapy is a type of radiation therapy that lets physicians deliver radiation that conforms to the shape and depth of the tumor, sparing much of the surrounding, normal tissues.


Both Hodgkin’s and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma patients can have significant benefits from proton therapy.


In a fortuitous series of events, one of Jack’s close friends reached out to him while he was still undergoing chemotherapy. Jack mentioned to his friend that he was looking into proton therapy as a secondary treatment option. His friend told him his mother worked in the proton therapy field. She contacted Dr. Arpit Chhabra, a radiation oncologist at NYPC, who called Jack within days.


When Jack spoke with Dr. Chhabra, he was relieved to learn that he was an excellent candidate for proton therapy because of his age, the location of the tumor, and ability for the treatment to provide an excellent long-term prognosis. In Jack’s case, proton therapy could safely target his tumor with high-dose radiation while minimizing damage and long-term side effects to his heart, lungs, and the surrounding tissues.


“Dr. Chhabra explained to me that proton therapy would be the ideal treatment to the remaining mass in my chest, which was much smaller now after chemotherapy, without penetrating any nearby structures such as my heart or lungs,” says Jack. “His explanation was so reassuring to me, because I didn’t want to get traditional radiation due to the location of my tumor and the possibility of complications in the future.”

The NYPC Team Aligns Treatment and Logistics for Patients

“Almost from the moment I decided to have the proton therapy at NYPC, everything aligned,” says Jack. “My oncologist in Charlotte was happy to coordinate with Dr. Chhabra and the NYPC team to plan my treatment. With all of the many logistics involved, the NYPC team was amazing in helping me coordinate the details so I could begin therapy as soon as possible.”


Dr. Chhabra and the NYPC Finance team worked closely with Jack to obtain insurance coverage for the proton therapy. With the help of the NYPC Social Work team, Jack secured lodging at Hope Lodge, a project run by the American Cancer Society offering cancer patients and their caregivers a free place to stay when they are being treated away from home. He also met with Laura Wang, Dietitian-Nutritionist at NYPC, for advice about healthy eating while undergoing therapy.


Jack underwent 15 proton therapy treatments, fewer than originally anticipated due to the good response he had from chemotherapy. He had very minimal side effects from the proton therapy, just a temporary faint redness on his chest.


While in New York, Jack and Emily took in the sights and energy of Manhattan. “I had a great time when I was in New York,” says Jack.

Learn more about proton therapy for lymphomas
“I had no issues with the proton therapy. Every day, I woke up and I thought, I just have to get treatment and then I can enjoy the rest of the day in the city. It almost felt like we were on vacation.”

A Delayed Honeymoon and a Long Future Ahead

This past May, Jack was one of the inspiring speakers at the “Patient Voices” panel at the 2023 National Proton Conference sponsored by the National Association for Proton Therapy (NAPT) in Salt Lake City. “I was happy to be an advocate for proton therapy because it was such an easy, positive experience, and it saved my life.”


While Jack was at the conference, he learned he was cancer free. Today, Jack and Emily are looking forward to going on their long-delayed honeymoon to Japan in October. “Sometime in the next few years, we hope to start a family,” says Jack. “There is so much ahead of us now.”

Hear more from NYPC patients
Resuming an active life after a spinal tumor. Meet Sara.
Living a full teen life after a brain tumor. Meet Kailey.
Head and neck cancer here and gone. Meet Joseph.

How can we help?

Want to find out if proton therapy might be a good fit for you or your patient? Call us at 833-NYPROTON (833-697-7686) or fill out the appropriate form below.