The Brotherhood of the Balloon (BOB) is a group of prostate cancer patients who have chosen Conformal Proton Beam Radiation Therapy (Proton Treatment). The organization was formed in December 2000 by several patients of the Loma Linda University Medical Proton Treatment Center. Today we have nearly 6,000 members, treated at 11 proton facilities in the U.S., Europe and Asia, representing all 50 U.S. States and 33 different countries. Financial support for the BOB is provided by Loma Linda University Medical Center.
The purpose of the BOB is to provide an aftercare communications forum, where members share
information on any subject related to their treatment, the healing process, and preventing a recurrence. Members also promote prostate cancer prevention at
public forums and willingly share their
experience of proton treatment with others who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer as a way of helping them decide among prostate cancer
Who Are Our Members?
Members represent people from all walks of life including medical, science, engineering, education, clergy, legal, agriculture, law enforcement, building trades, large and small business, airline, government, finance, military and the arts. One interesting fact is that an increasing number of men from the medical profession are choosing proton therapy to treat their prostate cancer.
Click here to read personal testimonies written by our members about their diagnosis, decision to receive proton therapy, their journey through treatment, and their life years after treatment.
If you wish to contact some of our members, all former proton patients, to learn firsthand of their experiences, email Deb Hickey at DHickey@protonbob.com for a list.
Benefits of Being a BOB Member
Private Database with Access to Our 6,000 Members
The BOB maintains a private database of our nearly 6,000 members, which includes vital statistics, pre-treatment cancer stage, follow-up PSA records and other personal information. As a member, you have access to this information.
Free Monthly e-Newsletter: BOB Tales
We offer a free, 15-20 page monthly e-mail newsletter to our members. For those members who do not have computers or e-mail, our volunteer sponsors snail mail printed newsletters to these men each month.
Fundamentally, the newsletter is utilized to advance our mission. That mission is to:
Newsletters typically include the following sections:
Click the links below to view sample articles from previous newsletters:
We offer a comprehensive 73-slide PowerPoint presentation to all members to present to and share with their communities (e.g. Rotary Club, Church Group, Support Group, friends and family, etc.). The presentation, which includes charts, graphics and photos, is intended to 1) educate people on prostate cancer awareness, detection and prevention, 2) help people understand the prostate cancer diagnosis, 3) provide an overview of the major treatment options, 4) provide information about proton therapy, and 5) encourage people to become educated and proactive in this process. Speaker’s notes are included.
We also offer an abbreviated version (55 slides) of the PowerPoint presentation that can be presented in 30 minutes or less.
If you are a BOB member and would like a copy of the PowerPoint, please send an e-mail to Deb Hickey at DHickey@protonbob.com.
Proton patient reunions and related events are happening all over the country. We alert members of upcoming events in their area including attendee information, speaker information, planned activities during the event (we have a lot of golfers in our group!) and contact information.
There is an annual golf tournament of the PGA (Proton Golfers Alumni) that takes place every summer in Nevada. This event attracts BOB members from all over the country and is growing every year.
The Opportunity to be Part of an Active and Supportive Group of Cancer Survivors
The BOB brings together men who have been through a similar experience—being diagnosed with prostate cancer and the arduous research process from diagnosis to treatment. Like any support group, we provide a safe place to share information and discuss ways to cope with the challenges following a cancer diagnosis.
Members are encouraged to write to us about their feelings and experiences, submit their feedback on the BOB, their proton treatment, or anything else related to their prostate cancer. We include member feedback in every monthly newsletter as well as on our Facebook profile where “fans” can post comments. We also encourage prospective members to contact our members to learn firsthand of their experiences. This not only helps the prospective patient find answers to their questions and relieves them of their stresses and fears; it motivates former patients to build awareness about proton therapy and feel good about helping others.
Being a part of the BOB can be beneficial in many ways. We provide the opportunity for proton patients to:
Not Yet Decided on Treatment?
We welcome you to contact our members directly via e-mail or phone to learn about their personal experiences of proton treatment. If you're interested in communicating directly with former proton patients, send an email to: DHickey@protonbob.com.
What is the significance of the name, “Brotherhood of the Balloon?”
During treatment, the proton beam is focused on the prostate gland plus a 12 millimeter (half-inch) margin around the gland. Treating this extra margin helps to kill any cancer that may have escaped the gland. This margin of safety may include part of the rectum, which is adjacent to the prostate. At some proton centers, in order to protect the posterior (outside) wall of the rectum from radiation, a small, lubricated balloon is inserted into the rectum and inflated with water prior to each treatment. A secondary function of the balloon is to help immobilize the prostate, by pushing it up against the pelvic bone.
So, our fraternity has the infamous “balloon” as the common denominator for all members.
Who Can Become a BOB Member?
The only criteria for membership in the BOB is having been diagnosed with prostate cancer and choosing proton treatment. One need not have completed proton therapy to join.
Click here to sign up for membership .
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