Lung Cancer

When retired junior high teacher Ted Fitzgerald had a cough that just wouldn’t quit, he turned to Lancaster General Health.

“I visited my family doctor, who sent me to the pulmonology people at LG Health,” said Ted.

After an X-ray revealed a small spot on the upper right part of his lung, Ted saw a pulmonologist who did a biopsy and diagnosed him with stage 3 lung cancer.

Ted learned that for his lung cancer, surgery was not an option. He began researching cancer programs online.

“I spoke with my son, whose friend had had some terrific results at Penn. I started looking seriously at Penn Medicine, specifically at something called proton therapy,” said Ted.

State-of-the-Art Proton Treatment

LG Health worked with colleagues at Penn Medicine to coordinate state-of-the-art proton treatment at Roberts Proton Therapy Center. The Roberts Proton Therapy Center is the largest, most advanced facility of its kind in the world, and the only proton therapy center that is fully integrated with a National Cancer Institute (NCI) designated comprehensive cancer center.

As part of Penn Medicine, LG Health and the Ann B. Barshinger Cancer Institute are able to offer patients seamless access to groundbreaking treatments like these.

Ted’s therapy required 36 consecutive weekdays of proton therapy. Each session took 15 minutes—about 10 for positioning and just 5 of actual radiation therapy.

“My experience at the Roberts Proton Therapy Center was remarkable,” he recalled. “At the end of the treatment protocol, there was a bell that you rang. Part of the fun was you had your support system there. I didn’t expect my entire support system to be there. I opened the elevator doors and there was my granddaughter saying, ‘Hi, Poppop!’ I never expected that. We rang that bell with tremendous vigor.”

Ted’s proton therapy treatment produced tremendous results. At a four-month follow-up appointment, his doctor was looking over Ted’s recent MRI and had to remind himself where the cancer had been. All that was left in its place was a 1 cm ball of dead cells.

“That really made me feel good,” Ted said. “And I said, well, thank God and thank you for Penn Medicine and Lancaster General Health. The doctors were absolutely wonderful. Very down to earth, great sense of humor, extremely knowledgeable, gave terrific advice. And if it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t be sitting here talking to you today.”

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