The Edmond Sun

January 9, 2013

ProCure celebrates proton therapy patient milestone

Mark Schlachtenhaufen
The Edmond Sun

EDMOND — Robert Hensley is a retired Navy SEAL and a Metro Tech aviation maintenance instructor.

“Because I’m in aviation I’m always trying to prevent something from breaking,” Hensley said.

About a year ago, he was having some urinary problems when his wife, who works professionally with cancer patients, encouraged him to get tested for prostate cancer. She told him about the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test.

The test measures the blood level of PSA, a protein produced by the prostate gland, according to the National Cancer Institute. The higher a man’s PSA level, the more likely it is that he has prostate cancer. However, there are additional reasons for having an elevated PSA level, and some men who have prostate cancer do not have elevated PSA.

“I didn’t know about it,” said Hensley, who was age 52 at the time he was tested.

In August, Hensley learned he might have prostate cancer. Thirty days later, a biopsy confirmed the preliminary findings.

Hensley and his wife Phylis began researching the different treatment options. After that process the decision to go with the ProCure Proton Therapy Center in Oklahoma City was a “no-brainer,” Hensley said.

During a two-and-a-half-month period he had 44 treatments (his last was scheduled for Thursday), Hensley said. The treatment process was really patient-friendly; his students and colleagues didn’t even know what he was undergoing, he said. He met a lot of nice people and barely waited after he signed in for his treatment sessions.

“It could have been a really horrible experience but it turned out to be a really delightful experience,” he said.

Wednesday, ProCure celebrated Hensley being their 1,000th graduate from proton therapy treatment for cancer, which opened its doors in July 2009. Three months from now Hensley will have a follow up PSA test when he’ll learn his prognosis. Hensley encouraged men to get a PSA test at age 40.

Hensley’s wife Phylis said the event means a lot to her. Going through the experience with her husband was really scary, she said.

“I feel as if he got the best treatment he could possibly get anywhere in the United States,” she said. “I’m really happy that we live here and didn’t have to travel.”

ProCure Proton Therapy Center President Clark Ward said the vision for the company was to bring absolute cutting-edge, innovative technology in the treatment of  cancer to the community setting. Oklahoma City was the first of four ProCure centers that have opened nationally. Locally, its chief hospital partner is Integris.

“It’s very humbling to have the patients that we do have come back,” Ward said. “We have a graduation every week for those patients that are successfully completing therapy.”

Due to the new therapy, patients have come to Oklahoma City ProCure from 38 states and 12 other countries, Ward said. | 341-2121, ext. 108