Oct. 20, 2016 | When Don Marshall, 58, was diagnosed with prostate cancer, he wanted to make sure he received the best possible care. He was considering traveling to California for treatment until he realized there was a state-of-the-art facility in his own backyard.
One year ago, Marshall went to a routine physical examination for an insurance company. The health care professional noticed his PSA (prostate specific antigen) test showed a higher than normal number, which is an indicator of possible prostate cancer.
“They had to do further tests. They eventually took a biopsy and found out that I was positive for prostate cancer.”
Marshall says he did what most people today would do: searched the web for articles and information to learn more about prostate cancer. He talked to several doctors about the treatment options he found available.
“I found out that proton therapy seemed to be the best out there and according to my research a facility in California was the place to go for the best treatment,” Marshall said.
Proton therapy treatment involves using a focused ray to destroy cancerous tissues while causing less damage to healthy surrounding tissues.
Marshall soon discovered that his insurance would not cover the cost of his treatment in California.
“I was going to find a way to pay and go anyway,” he said. “Because this is about my health.”
It wasn’t until he was on the phone with a health care professional at a Louisiana facility when he found out about a very similar treatment known as TomoTherapy. TomoTherapy combines intensity modified radiation therapy with the accuracy of computed tomography (CT) scanning. The radiation beams are targeted precisely to the tumor on any given day and produce less harmful side effects than conventional radiation treatments.
Marshall said he had not heard about TomoTherapy until then and began reading about it.
“I immediately called UAMS and set up an appointment. I met with Dr. Peacock. I really liked him. He reassured me that you couldn’t go wrong with this type of radiation therapy.”
Loverd Peacock, M.D., is a radiation oncology professor in the UAMS College of Medicine. Board certified in internal medicine and radiology, Peacock is also a charter member of the Board of Directors for the Mid-South Division of the Arkansas Cancer Society.
Marshall came to the Radiation Oncology Center at UAMS every morning for 45 days. He says he couldn’t be happier with his results.
“The visits took about 15 minutes. It was painless.”
Marshall’s PSA test is normal and the cancer is gone. He says he feels better now and definitely recommends screening.
“A lot of people are afraid of what they are going to find. I’m the opposite; if there’s something wrong I want to find out what it is as soon as possible. The disease is there whether you want to know about it or not. You may as well catch it early when it’s easier to treat.”
UAMS is the state’s only health sciences university, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; hospital; northwest Arkansas regional campus; statewide network of regional centers; and seven institutes: the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, Myeloma Institute, Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, Psychiatric Research Institute, Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging and Translational Research Institute. It is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. UAMS has 2,834 students, 822 medical residents and six dental residents. It is the state’s largest public employer with more than 10,000 employees, including 1,200 physicians who provide care to patients at UAMS, its regional campuses throughout the state, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, the VA Medical Center and Baptist Health. Visit www.uams.edu or www.uamshealth.com. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Instagram.