Friday, October 28, 2016

UF Health in Jacksonville

There are many things to consider when deciding among cancer treatments. One of them is cost; will my insurance cover this? My insurance is with a local HMO, and I already knew they cover traditional radiation treatment. I called the HMO and asked about coverage for proton beam therapy. They said they would consider it, using their established protocols. Well, at least it wasn’t a flat NO.

For more information, I called the nearest facility to Tallahassee, the UFHealth Proton Therapy Institute, AKA the Jacksonville Proton Therapy Center. Web address: I call it UFHealth for short. It’s affiliated with the University of Florida’s medical school in Gainesville. The receptionist at UFHealth couldn’t guarantee my HMO would cover my treatment there, but she explained in great deal what paperwork would be needed and what treatment there would involve. Recognizing that I wasn’t going to remember everything, she said she would send me a packet of information. Overnight. This was yesterday afternoon, the 27th. The packet arrived at 10:15 this morning. It’s full of useful information and forms to fill out, and paperback copies of two books. One of them was the Robert Marckini book I described in my October 26 post, and the other was Protons versus Prostate Cancer Exposed, by Ron Nelson (who was treated at UFHealth). I had previously downloaded this in Kindle, so I already knew that he was just as happy with his choice to get proton beam therapy as was Bob Marckini. One small part of the information packet was a sheet about SpaceOar (Spacing Organs at Risk) available at UFHealth. This is a new device that reliably separates the prostate from the rectum so that any radiation (traditional or proton) is much less likely to cause injury to the rectum (the primary location for the “gastrointestinal morbidity” mentioned in the Sheets paper in my earlier October 28 post).

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