Patient story: Meet Larry

“When you get a common cold, you can pretty much go to any doctor and you're going to be okay. When you have something like cancer, you want to know that you've got the best technology, the best partner in your hospital, and the finest physicians.”

Diagnosed in January 2018 with a high PSA level, Larry Giammarco went to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center for further tests. His biopsy revealed prostate cancer.

 

What came next was a journey of investigation and discovery, with the goal of determining which treatment was best for him.

 

Larry met separately with four oncologists specializing in different therapies for prostate cancer. He heard about the pros and cons of prostate surgery. He learned about different types of radiation therapy, including brachytherapy, in which radioactive “seeds” are implanted in the prostate, and photon beam therapy, in which radiation doses are delivered at the surface of the body and travel through the tumor.

 

On his last stop, Larry met with Dr. Oren Cahlon at Memorial Sloan Kettering to discuss proton therapy.

 

“Within 10 minutes of chatting with Dr. Cahlon, and asking my questions, I knew proton therapy was the right decision for me,” Larry says.

 

Among other questions, Larry wanted to know if he was a good candidate for proton therapy. He was concerned about possible side effects, and wondered if he would be able to work throughout his treatment. Like many patients, he also worried whether the treatment might cause future urinary incontinence or erectile dysfunction.

 

“At 56 years old, quality of life issues were important to me,” Larry explains.

To Larry’s surprise, the treatment was simple and painless.

Larry drove himself to and from the treatment center and was able to continue working through six weeks of daily weekday treatments. “From the time I walked in, to the time I left each day, it was about an hour out of my schedule.”

 

The side effects he experienced were minimal. “I had some minor fatigue,” Larry explains, “and needing to urinate felt a little more urgent. But all of the side effects were pretty much gone 30 days after my treatment. I wasn’t hospitalized. I had no major issues. Nobody would have known that I was going through radiation treatment just by looking at me.”

 

Today, Larry feels good about his choice to get proton therapy. “What helped me to finalize my decision is when I realized that Memorial Sloan Kettering was building a proton therapy center with other hospitals. They’re a world-famous cancer hospital, and this is the future they’re investing in.”

 

Three months after completing his proton therapy sessions, Larry received the best validation of all: that he was prostate cancer-free.

See how proton therapy can help you live your best life
“When you first hear that you have cancer, your mind goes in so many different directions,” says Larry. “I worried about what would happen to my family and how I would be affected. I’m used to being active: traveling for work, coaching youth sports teams, and vacationing with my wife and kids. Knowing that I had done my homework, and had the best care available, meant I could put part of my mind at ease.”

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.