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Rosemary Hesse, Bladder Patient

At 80-years-old, Rosemary Hesse wasn’t sure if any treatment options would be a good fit for treating her bladder cancer. Yet when she saw an advertisement for the Maryland Proton Treatment Center (MPTC), she became interested in learning about proton therapy.

One of her daughters, who has worked in healthcare, began researching the benefits of proton therapy with her. When they found out that proton therapy can minimize the radiation dose to important tissues, potentially allowing for fewer treatment side effects, they decided to schedule a consultation with Elizabeth M. Nichols, MD, Assistant Professor of Radiation Oncology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

“As soon as I met with Dr. Nichols and her staff, I felt so comfortable and at ease,” Rosemary says. “Rosemary was an excellent candidate for pencil-beam-scanning proton therapy because her tumor required a targeted radiation dose. We were able to deliver radiation directly to the tumor and spare the sensitive tissue around the bladder,” Dr. Nichols explains.

After meeting with Dr. Nichols, Rosemary decided that proton therapy at MPTC was the right treatment for her. For a few weeks, she came in every weekday for treatment from her home in Nottingham, Maryland, about 20 miles from MPTC.

“Everyone at the center, from the valet drivers to the front desk staff, is warm and genuine,” Rosemary says of the experience. “The team here is committed to making a difference in people’s lives.”

The treatments went well, and she was able to continue with her usual activities during treatment, such as bowling and putting together puzzles with her grandkids.

Rosemary also received concurrent chemotherapy with Dr. Heather Mannuel, MD, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and medical oncologist at the University of Maryland Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center.

In February 2017, Rosemary completed treatment and was given a special gift from MPTC – a t-shirt with her motto on it: “My tumor is aggressive but so am I!”

She celebrated her last day by ringing the bell with one of her daughters and her grandson. Now, she is looking forward to warmer weather so she can work on her garden and enjoy trips to the Eastern Shore.


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