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Tracy Graham

Tracy Graham

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Hello I'm Tracy Graham .thanks for adding me to the group. I have been diagnosed with non small cell squamish carcinoma stage 3A . I have a mass in my upper left lobe wich caused  it to collapse. I'm waiting to get  chemo and radiation . I will be going to the Abramson cancer center. I was going to do a trial and didn't know weather I would have foton or proton radiation . I had someone call to say my schedule was all set up and it was proton. Well I guess they jumped the gun and in the study it was foton . I'm disappointed that now I have to wait to get my schedule. I was happy about it being proton too because it pinpoints the radiation . So now I have a choice of continuing with foton or wait until my insurance is the proton radiation .I just want to get on with it. I think the sooner the better. Does anyone have an opinion about foton versus proton?

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Hi Tracy ... I'm sorry you were diagnosed with lung cancer but you picked a great forum to be a part of. You will hear from many members that will help you in your cancer journey.

I would take proton therapy "all day long". However, unless something has changed, insurance rarely pays for it, especially in 1st line treatment. If you are 65 I believe that Medicaid may pay for it. Also keep in mind that clinical trials in general are considered a great choice in treatments.

There aren't many on the forum that I know of with proton therapy experience but hopefully someone will chime in.

We looked at proton therapy for my wife's small cell lung cancer but were told all the above back in April. Unfortunately, this was just after thoracic photon radiation and still considered first line treatment.

The problem with photon radiation is that the area radiated received at or just below the maximum radiation amount such that future radiation to the same area is not advised. Proton therapy and radiation such as SBRT, etc. May be options to an already radiated area because of the pin point nature of the delivery.

The proton therapy doctor we saw indicated that the cost is prohibitive compared to the small benefits over typical photon therapy.


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Hey Tracy, I just had my first chemo treatment at Abramson (Perelman) Center this morning! If you want to hear about my experience, you can read it here: 

I was interested in Proton Therapy too, and had a consult with a Penn radiation oncologist, Dr. John Wilson. Apparently the location of the tumor and involved lymph nodes make me unsuitable for Proton Therapy. I do have a small lesion on my sacrum that is presumed to be a metastasis based on PET scan and MRI, but we are gonna wait and see how that responds to chemo first (actually, I'm having chemo and immunotherapy).

I'd ask about the Proton Therapy for sure--never hurts to ask. And no sense fighting for it unless your doctor thinks it will potentially do you some good. 

I do have to say that so far I'm extraordinarily impressed with the responsiveness of everyone I've dealt with at Penn. I had an upper left lobectomy three years ago for a VERY early stage lung cancer caught as a result of screening, but now things are more complicated. My previous treatment at MD Anderson at Cooper Hospital in Camden was great, but with things as they are now, I feel like Penn is a better fit for me now.

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