SOMERSET, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--In March 2012 ProCure Proton Therapy Center in Somerset, N.J. opened its doors as the 10th proton therapy treatment center in the United States, welcoming patients with various types of cancer that could benefit from this innovative and advanced form of radiation treatment. Among ProCure’s first group of patients were three men battling prostate cancer, who met at the Center and formed a bond that would grow beyond their time at the Center.
According to the American Cancer Society, prostate cancer is the second most common cancer among men in the United States, and about 1 in 7 men will be diagnosed at some point in his lifetime. When Eric Anderson, Matt Iacobazzo and Bob Jones arrived at ProCure to treat their prostate cancer, they knew that they were taking the right step towards a healthy future, and ProCure’s best-in-class technology and nurturing clinical staff impressed them. Still, with cancer they were facing totally foreign territory, and were apprehensive and nervous about their condition as they began treatment. They were soon pleased to find a welcoming community of men also being treated for prostate cancer.
Eric, Matt and Bob were 3 of 12 men who formed a group that came to be known as the “Brotherhood of the Blue Bottle” or “BBB” for short, giving a nod to the water they were required to drink before each proton therapy session to stabilize the prostate, out of a blue bottle provided by the Center. The group quickly formed a close bond, each member comforted by the knowledge that they were among peers enduring the same health challenge.
“Forming connections with other men going through prostate cancer treatment proved to be hugely important to my experience with cancer,” reflects Bob. “There was a commonality among us — we were all there for the same reason. That sense of a shared experience made something as scary and intimidating as cancer much more manageable.”
Eric echoes Bob’s sentiment, noting that his time at ProCure far exceeded his expectations for cancer treatment. He speaks fondly of his conversations with other men as they waited for their treatments in the ProCure lobby. Eric compares the BBB to joining the military: you’re bonding with people who are fighting in the same battle as you.
Matt also speaks positively about the information exchange that took place among the BBB members in the lobby and over lunches outside the Center. He states, “Men can be a bit more closed off when it comes to talking about our medical issues. It’s important for us to create a space where we can speak openly about things like prostate health, so that we can get the help we need.”
He continues, “This philosophy was integral to the Brotherhood: we were a group that was talking about everything when it came to prostate cancer – fears about side effects, experiences with urologists, the impact of cancer on our family lives and careers. Nothing was off the table with our group.”
The best part? All three men remain cancer free over four years later, and have taken on the roles of ProCure “patient ambassadors” for both proton therapy and open discourse about men’s health. “A prostate cancer diagnosis can be extremely overwhelming. You’re often presented with multiple treatment options, and it’s confusing to know what to do next. Our message as members of the BBB, over four years ago and still today, is that you shouldn’t be afraid to open up and talk to others. It could lead you to the right treatment. It could even lead you to form rewarding friendships,” states Bob.
Proton Therapy and Prostate Cancer
Proton therapy has been used for over 20 years to treat prostate cancer, with recent studies proving its safety and efficacy, as well as its ability to eliminate excess radiation to surrounding healthy tissue. The reduction in radiation to critical structures, including the rectum and bladder, is associated with a low risk of side effects such as gastrointestinal issues, incontinence and impotence.
“Many men facing prostate cancer are concerned about short- and long-term side effects stemming from prostate cancer treatment; proton therapy offers a path that can potentially reduce that risk,” explains Dr. Henry Tsai, a radiation oncologist with ProCure.
September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month and, just as the Brotherhood of the Blue Bottle deemed it critical to speak up about men’s health, ProCure urges men of all ages to be cognizant of the factors that can increase their chances of getting prostate cancer. Elements such as being 50 years of age or older, having an immediate blood relative who had prostate cancer, or being of African American descent can put men at higher risk for getting prostate cancer. ProCure believes it’s important for men facing a prostate cancer diagnosis to be informed about all of their treatment options and empowered in their decision making.
If you or someone you love is considering treatment options for prostate cancer, call 1-877-967-7628 or visit us online at www.procure.com/nj. Our team will help you learn more about proton therapy and determine if it is right for you.
About Princeton ProCure Management, LLC.
ProCure Proton Therapy Center in Somerset, N.J. opened in March 2012, and was the 10th proton treatment facility in the nation and the first in the NJ/NY tri-state region. Studies have shown proton therapy to be effective in treating many types of cancers, including that of the prostate, breast, lung, brain, gastrointestinal system, head and neck region, sarcomas and many pediatric cases.
ProCure N.J. is the only proton therapy center in the metro NY/NJ area equipped with pencil beam scanning (PBS), the most advanced proton therapy technology available today. ProCure's PBS technology expands the center's ability to treat difficult and complicated tumors, and is reflective of a commitment to continually advance cancer treatment options. For more information, visit www.procure.com/nj.