Ken decided he wanted to pursue proton therapy in lieu of traditional radiation for his throat cancer for one simple reason—or rather, a set of them. He wanted to keep his teeth.
Ken was diagnosed with throat cancer after what he assumed was seasonal allergies persisted until he began spitting up blood. That’s when an ear, nose, and throat specialist discovered a tumor.
As he made the rounds from specialist to specialist, Ken was shocked to learn that he would need 12 back teeth removed.
Ken said an oral surgeon told him that radiation would go through his jawbone and hill his teeth. The doctor also recommended inserting a feeding tube prior to treatment, as it would render him unable to eat.
“That floored me,” Ken said, recalling the shock he felt at that time.
That prognosis led him online, where he began searching for treatment options that would have less collateral damage. He discovered Provision, and scheduled a consultation, even though his doctor advised against proton therapy.
“His own position was that he thought it was still too new,” Ken said.
But after learning about proton therapy, which has been FDA approved since 1988, and Provision’s pencil beam scanning in particular, he was convinced the treatment would allow him to keep his teeth, avoid a feeding tube, and cure his cancer.
The VA’s Veterans Choice Program let him travel for the treatment, and the VA even provided funds for his stay.
Ken completed treatment successfully, and while he experienced some temporary side effects, such as sore throat and loss of taste, he ended up keeping his teeth and the ability to swallow throughout treatment.
He credits Provision CARES Proton Therapy for helping him navigate through a challenging process of understanding his insurance benefits and taking steps to secure coverage for his treatment.
“I could’ve taken traditional radiation treatment, but from now on I would have had all those other things to deal with,” Ken said. “I’m so thankful I found Provision.”