I first became aware of City of Hope when my mother was a volunteer for the organization in the 1950s and for many years thereafter. I had only a vague idea of its mission. When my cousin’s wife was afflicted with breast cancer and she underwent treatment at City of Hope, I became far more aware of the type of health care provided. She had a particularly virulent form of the disease with metastases in her bowel area. My cousin who is an interventional radiologist, after thoroughly researching the possible therapies available concluded that TomoTherapy with the precision provided by the integrated CT had the best chance of excoriating the tumor without damaging bowel function. After months of therapy facilitated by the onsite patient residences, that tumor was expunged.
When I was diagnosed with prostate cancer, I was fortunate enough to be privy to my cousin’s counsel. In addition to making me aware of the TomoTherapy intervention option, he had high praise for City of Hope with its concern and attention not only to the specific area being treated but to the totality of needs and concerns of the patient and family. I did my own research into the options available focusing on potential morbidity, recurrence statistics, and associated side effects, concluding that intensity-modulated radiation therapy was the best option. After a consultation with City of Hope radiologist, Dr. Jeffrey Wong, it seemed clear that TomoTherapy would deliver the necessary radiation to desired areas with less chance of inadvertently affecting other tissue. Dr. Wong devised a treatment plan and I was able to schedule those treatments at convenient times, allowing me to avoid heavy traffic for the daily 100 mile round trip.
From the outset I was extremely impressed and pleased with the professionalism, concern and courtesy of City of Hope staff. Whether it was facilitation of the admission process or the comprehensive patient/family orientation, or merely a staff member or even a physician personally escorting us to our destination, the prevailing vibe was one of concern and helpfulness. This extended to all of those involved in my recurring treatments and consultations over the two and half month treatment period and subsequent follow-up visits. Of course in my case, the most significant result of my association with City of Hope is the success of my treatment. The side effects that I experienced during the process were minimal. I did have more frequent and occasionally urgent urination, but except for 15 minute post-treatment weakness, there were no other effects. Often, I played a very vigorous sport less than an hour after my treatments. There is virtually no change in my urinary needs, bowel and erectile function from their pre-treatment states. Happily, three years later, my prostate cancer is in a state of remission, if not cured, with my PSA diminished to 0.160. I have nothing but good feelings for City of Hope and its staff and highly recommend the facility.
I fully expect that City of Hope will continue its great efforts in helping cancer patients maintain and improve the quality of their lives as palliative measures and cures are pursued. I would hope City of Hope achieves significant success in extending the frontiers of cancer research.
Cancer is not a death sentence. There are many means available to ameliorate and frequently eliminate symptom and the disease. City of Hope is a great resource in that regard.