Head and Neck Cancer Survivor, Ed Malewitz

“They told me I might lose some of my vision”

At the beginning of 2013, Houstonian, Ed Malewitz, began experiencing frequent nosebleeds and nasal congestion. By 2015, he was undergoing testing to find the cause of those nosebleeds. As a result, the ENT (ear, nose and throat) physician referred him to a rhinology specialist. It was decided to perform surgery to obtain a biopsy. During the 6-hour surgery, the rhinologist discovered and removed an egg-sized tumor in Ed’s nasal cavity. The tumor was an adenoid cystic carcinoma. It was located near his optic nerve on the right side of his sinus cavity at the base of his skull.

“Since it was very close to my optic nerve, they told me I might lose some of my vision from my right eye and maybe my left eye,” Ed recalled. To complete treatment and ensure that no cancerous cells remained, Ed’s physician highly recommended The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

 Welcomed with open arms

“I went to the MD Anderson website and proton therapy came up,” Ed said. “I called the MD Anderson Proton Therapy Center, scheduled an appointment and I was welcomed with open arms.” He completed a total of 33 treatments over a six-week period at the MD Anderson Proton Therapy Center. With proton therapy, doctors were able to precisely target the cancer cells in Ed’s nasal cavity while sparing his eyes and brain. The side effects were minimal allowing him to go to work every day.

“This form of radiation does not have the risk of collateral damage such as the pain of radiation burns. It is quite precise, and it didn’t hurt,” Ed shared.

“I came through it with my vision intact”

Now, Ed is back to doing what he loves — astronomy and photography. “I came through it without damage, without scarring. I came through it with my vision intact.” His advice to anyone recently diagnosed with any form of cancer — “Run, don’t walk to MD Anderson. Get yourself there. The sooner, the better. Your life may well depend on it!”