David Bowles

Treated by Ryan Grover, MD

In February 2017, I received the news which no one wants to hear, but which many will: the diagnosis of cancer, in my case a rather large and rare bone tumor called a chondrosarcoma (CS), in my hip. I have a story which might interest some of you facing surgery for CS, specifically a hemipelvectomy, or surgery for other cancers.

Surgery is the standard of care for CS and it was what was recommended to me by doctors all over the US. Following two months of research I turned them all down, telling them that the quality of my life was worth far more to me than its length (I was 69 at diagnosis) and that I did not want to end up in a wheelchair but to continue my active, mobile life of exercise and travel. I could do this because I had an alternative treatment option, proton therapy.

My tumor was bombarded over 39 days with a total of 90 minutes of the most powerful radiation available in the US. I went to the California Protons Cancer Therapy Center where the technology is state of the art and equal to the best in the world (I checked), as are the people at every level. CS is not affected by regular radiation, or chemotherapy; however a proton beam, traveling at 100,000 miles a second and very, very precise in its targeting, is powerful enough to handle it, with its capability of killing both of the cancer cell DNA strands, not just one.

My treatment ended on June 27th, 2017 and following two PET scans since then, I am now cancer free and my prognosis is as good as surgery, maybe even better. I have almost no side effects. At this point though, almost no one receives this kind of treatment for the type of cancer I had; I believe this can and should change and I want to help make it happen.

If anyone reading this wants to get proton radiation but meets resistance, hang in there and find people who believe in it, as I did. In my case its cost was far less than a 15 hour surgery and months…or years…of rehab, for sure. Not to mention the non-financial costs of deep infection, lymphedema, etc. and above all, lack of mobility associated with the surgery. My gratitude for all this is off the charts, as you can imagine. I highly recommend proton therapy at California Protons for tumors with which it is effective, such as mine.


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