Jeff Overcame a Rare Brain Tumor with Surgery and Proton Therapy

When 56-year-old Jeff Graf thought he was having a stroke, he knew he needed to get help right away. And although doctors quickly ruled out stroke, test results revealed an equally menacing diagnosis: a rare tumor growing deep inside his brain.

Facing an uphill battle, Jeff turned to the experts at Indiana University Health for answers. Here, the electrician from Greentown, Indiana, found a team of specialists, advanced treatment options and a level of care that few hospitals across the country could provide.

Knowing they’d need to use the most innovative techniques to restore Jeff’s health, doctors quickly mapped out a treatment plan that not only included delicate surgery, but also ultra-precise radiotherapy.

Jeff first underwent surgery at IU Health Methodist Hospital, where neurosurgeons carefully removed the tumor, a clival chordoma, through his nose. He then began nine weeks of proton therapy at IU Health Proton Therapy Center in Bloomington, Indiana. Using a beam delivery system, proton therapy delivers radiation precisely to the tumor, sparing healthy tissue and avoiding critical structures, while producing fewer side effects.

Both the surgery and proton therapy were deemed successful and, today, Jeff’s prognosis is good. He says he’s grateful for the innovations he never knew were available right in own backyard.

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