The Woodward News

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September 23, 2012

Local man pleased with proton therapy for cancer treatment

Woodward, Okla. — September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month.  And in addition to the importance of getting routine prostate checks, one local man and his wife want to encourage other men to be aware of their treatment options for prostate cancer.

Billy Boyle and his wife Rita recently sat down with The News to discuss what they saw as the overwhelming benefits of proton therapy in the treatment of Billy's prostate cancer.

There were several things that led the couple to consider proton therapy after Billy was diagnosed with prostate cancer last fall.

Perhaps the largest motivator was the fact that Billy had already been through chemotherapy treatments a decade before after being diagnosed with colon cancer in 2001.

Back then proton therapy wasn't available, as it was still being researched as a cancer treatment option, so Billy had to have surgery to remove the tumor in his colon.  He then underwent chemotherapy, with treatments once a week for 6 weeks and then once every other week for the remainder of his 24 chemo treatments.

The couple was having to drive to Enid for the chemo treatments and Rita said, "they made Billy so tired that he'd be asleep by the time we got out of Enid."

"The more treatments he'd have, the more tired he was," she said.  "And his eyes got puffy.  And even now when he gets out in the cold, his eyes will still water.  The chemo also make him feel weak.  It took him a long while to regain his strength back."

The couple had heard that regular radiation, which Billy's urologist had originally recommended after diagnosing his prostate cancer, would cause even more side effects.

"I had heard bad stories about regular radiation from people who had to take pills for the pain caused by the treatment.  And some had really bad radiation burns," Billy said.  "No matter what the doctor said, I didn't want those burns."

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