Stephanie Ferrara of Iselin is pictured at her bridal shower. She recently completed Proton Therapy at ProCure Proton Therapy Center in Somerset for treatment of Hodgkins lymphoma. Credit: Stephanie Ferrara
Stephanie Ferrara is a busy bride-to-be, planning her October wedding.
A bride in the planning stages will tell you there's a lot of work involved, but Ferrara recently hit another very important milestone - the completion of proton therapy in treatment of her Hodgkins lymphoma.
Ferrara, 22, of Iselin was diagnosed with Hodgkins lymphoma in September 2012 after being unable to get rid of a nasty cough, she said.
After a few trips to the doctor, an x-ray and a CAT scan revealed a mass in her chest that was diagnosed as cancer.
Ferrara underwent chemotherapy, but was told by her doctor that traditional radiation therapy was not practical for her, as the mass was too close to her heart.
She was prescribed Proton Therapy, administered at ProCure Proton Therapy Center in Somerset.
Proton Therapy differs from traditional radiation therapy in that the radiation is administered directly to a tumor, allowing for higher, more effective doses, and less damage to surrounding healthy tissue, according to ProCure.
Its effectiveness has been shown in treating a number of different cancers, including those found in the head and neck, lung, and prostate, according to ProCure.
For two months, Ferrara went for the daily treatments, which she said were non-invasive.
Ferrara said that after the therapy is complete, physicians do not aggressively scan to monitor progress, as it could be disruptive to the site of the treatments.
Her next scan is scheduled for September 13, and she is optimistic.
"I'm pretty optimistic that it worked pretty well," she said.
In addition to undergoing treatment and planning her wedding, Ferrara works for a company that distributes clothing to department stores.
Having completed the treatment, Ferrara said she "feels good."
"A lot better than before I was diagnosed," she said.