Fit Club: New therapy for cancer treatment

Fit Club: New therapy for cancer treatment
Mike Hagan underwent proton therapy for prostate cancer.
Mike Hagan underwent proton therapy for prostate cancer.

RICHMOND HILL, GA (WTOC) - Mike Hagan is no stranger to the gym. Each day you can find him peddling, lifting and crunching away at the Richmond Hill YMCA, but nearly six months ago, Mike's routine was interrupted by a shocking diagnosis.

"I was diagnosed in December with prostate cancer and I was devastated," said Hagan. "Most men don't realize how that diagnosis can affect you. Most doctors say it's slow growing and most men will die with prostate cancer. When you you are the one that is diagnosed - it really gets to you."

Especially, since Hagan is physically active and seems in good health from the outside.

"I found out during my yearly checkup, which I highly recommend, and it was through my PSA blood test. I had an elevation," he recalled.

Hagan weighed his options and chose to try a unique treatment called proton beam radiation therapy. It's only offered in 10 sites in the U.S., the closest is offered at the University of Florida campus in Jacksonville, Fla.

He said it involved 39 treatments - Monday through Friday - once per day. He was getting proton beam radiation. He said he had very few side affects added that there's a high cure rate.

Despite undergoing extensive therapy, Hagan never let the disease interfere with his committment to be fit.

"I try to get to the gym once a day and will take classes at night," said Hagan. "I wanted to keep that up. My physicians at the Proton Institute said it was important to remain active, so we joined YMCA in Jacksonville and went to classes."

It was staying active that got Hagan through the therapy.

"A good exercise regimen will keep you in a good frame of mind," said Hagan. "That is so important, because the mind is such a powerful thing."

Did you know that as many men die from prostate cancer as women die from breast cancer?

It's a startling statistic.

What is Proton Therapy?

A patient who undergoes conventional radiation therapy is exposed to xrays that pass through healthy and diseased tissue. Xrays leave a track of damage, which can help destroy tumors, but may cause significant harm to surrounding areas.

Protons cause less damage to healthy tissue and most of their destructive energy goes to the tumor site. As a result, normal, healthy tissue receives less exposure to radiation, resulting in fewer treatment complications.

For more information on The University of Florida Proton Therapy Institute visit

To reach Mike Hagan, email him at

Copyright 2012 WTOC. All rights reserved.