Two Cancer Survivors Praise Proton Therapy

Santa Clara Valley Weekly
Santa Clara California
February 12, 1997

(NU) - The proton beam is making strides in fighting the war against cancer, and two men - Don Millard Of Vinton Iowa, and Dale McDaniel of Cedar Rapids, Iowa - are singing its praises.

Loma Linda University Medical Center in Southern California pioneered the clinical applications of this noninvasive therapy that spares people the rigors of surgery and the potential debilitating, effects of conventional radiation treatment.

There are very few side effects and little damage done to healthy organs during the procedure, because it radiates only the tumor site, leaving surrounding healthy tissue intact.

In Millard's case, he says it also saved him from impotency and possibly incontinence for the rest of his life. A victim of prostate cancer, Millard had no symptoms initially, but a blood profile done during a routine exam showed an elevated PSA that's a prostate-specific antigen, a protein produced only by the prostate that rises with a disorder.

"I never thought I'd ever have it," says the 70-year-old retiree about cancer. Doctors told him he would need to wear a diaper for a month after the surgery, and maybe for the rest of his life.

After he pondered the sobering news, he and his wife went to visit relatives in Arizona, where Millard happened to read an article in a newspaper about the proton therapy being done at Loma Linda.

He read about the therapy on a Saturday, called Loma Linda Monday, was approved Wednesday, and arrived for treatment the next Monday. It worked.

The proton therapy does best with localized tumors like Millard's, and is approved by the Food and Drug Administration. "I feel I was cured." Millard says.

McDaniel had also read an article about the treatment. Cancer had struck three of his four siblings and he had seen the effects of the disease.

"I told the doctors I didn't want to do anything" says the father of five who recovered from prostate cancer. I was determined to die if I had to."

But he called the medical center and made an appointment. Loma Linda found his cancer had not spread and decided he would be a good candidate for treatment.

And the best part "You don't feel a thing during the treatment," McDaniel Says.

Both men now have decreased PSA levels within normal for their ages.


> Send mail to with questions or comments about this web site.