Meet Melissa Breedlove, a member of the NAPT Patient Advocate Community. Melissa’s choice of proton therapy was driven by a profound understanding of the potential impact of her treatment. She faced left-sided breast cancer with lymph node involvement, and upon researching proton therapy, she recognized the clear advantage: reduced radiation exposure to her heart and lungs. Her decision was not only about treating her cancer effectively but also about minimizing the risk of long-term side effects, a crucial consideration for someone as young as Melissa was at the time of her treatment—just 36 years old.
Proton therapy has been truly life-saving and life-changing for Melissa. Six years post-treatment, Melissa continues to look ahead, making plans for the future with optimism. Proton therapy’s ability to target malignant cells while sparing healthy tissues ensures a brighter outlook for Melissa and her family. “I can’t see the cancer cells that the proton beams zapped, and I can’t see the reduced damage to my heart and lungs. However, I do get to see my son continue to grow up, and we continue to take on new adventures together, seeing new sights and making new memories.”
Their support was unwavering throughout her journey. From expediting initial consultations and navigating insurance approvals to accommodating her treatment schedule so she could be with her son at bedtime, they were a source of comfort.
Melissa’s positive experience with her care team at the UF Health Proton Therapy Institute is nothing short of exceptional. Their support was unwavering throughout her journey. From expediting initial consultations and navigating insurance approvals to accommodating her treatment schedule so she could be with her son at bedtime, they were a source of comfort. Melissa emphasizes that, even years later, she continues to feel like a person, not just a number to her care team. Their dedication, from the outset, made her feel that she was not alone in her battle against cancer and that they would stand by her side. Their work, both then and ongoing, provided her with the best chance for a long and promising future with her son.