Proton therapy helps patient beat prostate cancer

Treatment not new, but often overlooked

Author: Melanie Lawson, The Morning Show anchor, reporter, mlawson@wjxt.com
Published On: Jun 05 2013 08:49:29 AM EDT   Updated On: Jun 05 2013 10:59:31 AM EDT
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

John Cassenti gets to ring the bell at UF Proton Therapy Institute signifying his treatments are over.

"It's like a little kid on Christmas morning I woke up several times last night thinking about it," said Cassenti.

The treatment hasn't been bad but when he was first diagnosed Cassenti was a little scared but very motivated.

"My whole thing was get it now and get it under control cause I'm in better health now then I would be," says Cassenti.

At 60 years old and with early stage prostate cancer, his research led him to try proton therapy -- which administers high doses of radiation right to the cancer, avoiding healthy tissue.

"The beams go a certain distance and just stop," says Dr. Bradford Hoppe.

Radiation oncologist Hoppe at UF Proton Therapy Institute shows how it works with protons versus traditional radiation.

"With the IMRT plan you need to use 5 to 7 beams so you get low dose radiation which you don't have in the proton plan," says Hoppe.

Cassenti said, "This treatment allowed me to keep working I worked through this entire treatment didn't miss a day at work."

Cassenti is a part of the Channel 4 family.  He's an engineer who keeps our equipment up and running and says he was never tired, in pain, and didn't really experience any side effects during his treatment.

"You don't feel anything; it's not uncomfortable; it's just another day," says Cassenti.

The day of his final treatment was a special day and with his loving wife by his side he's ready to say goodbye to cancer and treatments because he is looking forward.

"I want to see what's going to happen down the line. A year from now there could be a side effect but again that's a year from now," says Cassenti.