Prostate cancer patient David received a diagnosis at stage IV during a routine PSA check. Watch as he shares his prostate cancer journey, his experience with clinical trials and treatments, and his advice to other patients about lessons learned about prostate cancer side effects and the impacts of clinical trials.
Hello, my name’s David. I am 58 years-old.I was diagnosed in 2016 with prostate cancer, I had no actual signs or symptoms of prostate cancer, it was only found due to Army doctors, I had something wrong with me, which had nothing to do with the cancer. They did a PSA check, and my PSA came back at 1050, where it should be around 0. From that I then got sent to a local hospital where I had tests, I had biopsies to open my prostate, which found out I had stage IV prostate cancer.
From there I got asked would I like to go to the Christie County Hospital in Manchester, UK. From there, they offered me the trial called the STAMPEDE trial. This trial was used in different procedures, which is already around, we use them together to try and extend people with prostate’s life. I got to turn the arm where it was also attached with chemotherapy, followed by 20 sessions of radiotherapy. This happened over three, four months, which after that brought my PSA down, but only to round 20 odd. From this after a couple of months, my PSA started to rise fairly quickly. I then got put onto the drug called bicalutamide (Casodex). This lasted a couple of months, because my cancer is so aggressive, it started to grow. I then got put onto another chemotherapy, cabazitaxel (Jevtana). After my first session of the cabazitaxel, I then got a CT scan and from this we found out the growths were still growing.
So after this, I then got put on a drug called abiraterone with [inaudible] which is a stand-only. I was on this for 22 months, which was very good, it brought my PSA down to eight, which is as low as it’s ever been. Like I say, it lasted 22 months, but then the cancer started to come back quite a bit, so my oncologist actually said there’s no actual normal treatment left for me, and asked would I like to go on to trials, clinical, a first stage clinical trial, right away I said yes. My first clinical trial was a Carrick called Carrick, this lasted six months, but again, the cancer started to grow again, so I came off of this. I then have four weeks, no trials at all. It’s what called a clean-out where you can’t have any drugs at all in between trials. I then went on to what was called task 368-1, this lasted longer which lasted seven months. That again, the cancer starts to grow again. So, then I got on this one called CellCentric For the the CellCentric trail, they put you back on to abiraterone, which normally you don’t, wouldn’t take past one to two months… for me, it’s carried on working again. It’s now on seven months of working until it stops working, I can’t go on the new drug called CellCentric.
For me, this is cool because it’s still working, the old drug, and it’s a very…let’s say there’s not a lot of side effects except for what steroids [inaudible]. So at the moment, we’re just seeing how it goes. I have scans every eight weeks, a CT scan and a full body scan from each time they come back, they then decide what’s happening next…and that is my journey up to now, which is five-and-a-half years later.
With the clinical trials, I feel really good at the moment, because as I said, the trial [inaudible] and abiraterone (Zytiga) is not a drug that causes a lot of side effects. Through other trials have been, they are very intense, and that’s what they always warn people, which are overnight stays when you first take the drugs, so they are very tiring, you have to have blood done overnight all the way through the night, you get BCGs to make sure your body is not reacting to the drugs, and then the side effects of the drugs after. So, they are very intense, but also, I am still here, I did not expect to be here. October, this year October I got told I would not be here three years ago, so it shows what clinical trials can actually do for you. I’m still here, I still live a very good life. We go walking, the wife and I quite often, and we did three, four-mile last night, and we just enjoy our lives.
People don’t realize…a lot of men don’t talk about it the physical side and the sexual side of prostate cancer, the treatment, because your libido to go, and it just causes a [inaudible] of your testosterone. You don’t feel like…and it’s a closeness that you lose… Amanda’s been unbelievable, she’s been there for me all the way through. She’s my rock, she’s the one went down down, she pushes me, but then she has days where she’s down. And this is where people need to realize the partners will improve the encounters much as the patient. And this is some of them we talked about…we’re very open about people where we talk about it. We have our days, the last couple of days I’ve been down. But she’s there to try and help me get back, and I try and do it for her when she is…and the family is the same, having the family support, when I’ve been to appointments, I get phone calls, quite a few, I get messages how are things going. And it’s just nice knowing that people do care, we have friends who keep in touch all the time, make sure everything’s okay, and you need that support of your family and friends.
It’s very important for them to be there with you.
The clinical trial to me is drugs that normally are not being used on humans before. They’ve only been tested in the laboratories. So, the first stage is a dosage stage where they check in and see what a person can actually take…so different people have different amounts of the dose. And then from there they go to the expansion stage, and that is when they bring more people, and they know what dose to give people. Well, it’s to find new drugs, which can help other people in the future, as well as myself…I always say to myself, “This could help someone in the future, live for longer, stay longer with their family, be there longer.” It’s helping me other months, as I say, but it’s also to help other people in the future, something that’s not been used with people before.
What I would say to other people who are thinking of going on clinical trials and the families is go for it. They are done so carefully, you’re checked all the time, your bloods are checked, your health is checked, your [inaudible]. It’s something that you can stay longer with your family. There could be cures in the future with this as well, no one actually knows, and it’s something people should not be scared of doing. Like I said, I’m on my third trial, and I will keep on going, I know there are more trials for me after this. And I will keep on going.
Advanced prostate cancer patient Gary was an athlete in the first Oncology Olympic Games in Rome. Watch as Gary shares his prostate cancer journey, benefits and knowledge he’s gained from clinical trials, and his advice to others considering participating in a clinical trial.
My name is Gary, I’m 66 years old and in January 2011, I was diagnosed with stage IV metastatic prostate cancer.
I started my journey after the diagnosis, It was quite hard to take because I didn’t have symptoms, and it was a complete shock, and I found out by accident by being in hospital with pneumonia. When I found out, the team came around to talk to me, and they said there are lots of things open to me, like new medications, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and clinical trials. So it started off very positive, and that made me feel positive about it as well. I started off on hormone treatment and my PSA over a few months went down from 255 down to 12. In October of that year, I started on an infusion every four weeks to strengthen the bones and stop osteoporosis. So that was an important move. Then my PSA started rising again, it crept up to 83. So I was only on hormone treatment, and that was when they offered me the PREVAIL trial. I looked up on the Internet about the trial when it was a trial that was known as MD-310 at the first stage of firm tests in America, and then they were rolling out the stage two tests, so I discussed it with my family.
And we decided it would be a good move. And so I signed up for the clinical trial, and I started the trial on the 23rd of December. Being a 50/50 placebo versus drug, I didn’t know whether I was going to be on the drug or not. Come the new year after of couple of months, I started feeling better and my PSA started going down again. I felt more energetic and my consultant agreed with me when I said I thought I was probably on the drug because there’s a difference. It actually was the one thing that I’ve done that changed my life because I had a future, I felt better which I was a bit worried about doing because of the prognosis when they said it was up to two years depending on if I go to a good treatment. And the longer I was on the drug, the better I felt. I had side effects. I was clinically castrated by the drug, because it cuts off all the testosterone apart from that.
I had a very, very good life. My wife and I’ve been married since we’ve been 19. We got married in 1974, and we’re solid as a rock. She is my rock all the way through this. Sometimes it’s harder for her, I think, than for me, because she’s watching what I’m going through. But after I’ve been on it for so long, we got really confident, and life was completely normal. And then came my first grandchild in 2014, and closely followed by the second one, two years later, and then the third one last year in lockdown, and they have made it such of my life such a joy. So I’m so thankful for deciding to go on a clinical trial. I would recommend clinical trials because you’ve got the basic treatments, but clinical trials can make a big difference, because although they are not tested drugs they’re probably the drugs of the future.
And you can get on the ladder early and be on these drugs, and instead of giving it…giving me about three years, it worked for nine years. So it gave me nine years of worry-free life. I’ve had my ups and downs, I had some phases of [inaudible] radiotherapy here and there, but it was…it really did make a massive difference to my life. And I don’t think if I hadn’t gone on that clinical trial, I don’t think I would have been here now. I relish every single minute I’m here and if another clinical trial, that would suit me came up tomorrow, I would definitely think about going on that one as well.
Prostate cancer patient Willie was diagnosed in 2021 at the age of 65. Watch as he shares his prostate cancer story from diagnosis to how he’s doing today, his experience with a patient navigator and a clinical trial, and his advice to both Black men and to all others with prostate cancer.
My name is Willie. I’m 65 years old. In 2021, I found out that I had prostate cancer.
I would like to explain about the experiment that I went through in prostate cancer. Some that was, I was afraid of because that word cancer and that word to me, out of all my life, I done heard that, all I thought about was death. It kills you. You’re not going to live. And I was trying to find out where and how I got cancer, and I didn’t get no idea until I was able to sit down, talk with my navigator and what procedure I would have to go do in order to help me with my cancer. So they gave me some choices. One I didn’t like because I had to be hung upside down for four hours, and I didn’t think I can do anything like that at my age. And next, they told me cancer, radiation, and I was scared of that because it was like burning fire. And I had seen other people how it done them and their skin, and it put fear in me. So, I decided to go and talk to my doctor.
I want to be healthy. And when I started my cancer treatment, it was the scariest move. When they put a gown on me and laid me on that bed, they put these machines on me, and I had to lay there, and they mark me where they want to set it up, or where the cancer was at, they’re going to do the radiation. I didn’t understand it. I really needed help in my house, I was so sick, I own a bed, it’s a pull-out bed out of my couch. So I went to a bag, a bean bag to be able to lay on each and every day I was just under that much pain, and it was miserable to me, and I kept on working on it. I didn’t want my hair to be falling out. I didn’t want my body to be deformed all that was on my mind, and I decided to go and do this radiation. And now I can tell anybody I know it’s scary, I have experienced it, but it’s really after you get done with it, you’ll be so happy that it makes you feel like you were one time before, you’re back to your normal, you’re you.
My reason to take the clinical trial, because I had fear in me about prostate cancer, and I did not know where and what it would be like of carrying this. So I had in my mind that I wasn’t going to do it. I couldn’t sleep at night. You know one…and how is it going to, how is this cancer going to hit me? I’m laying in the bed, “What’s it going to do? What should I do? How should I sleep to keep from worrying about me and this cancer?” I’m running back and forth to the bathroom, couldn’t eat and appetite gone and I got to the point, I’m going and take this test. So I called the navigator and he and I discussed this, and he convinced me.
A clinical trial to me is the work of getting you with your prostate taken care of. I experienced a lot of goodness after I realized what this was really about. The clinical trial, it really made me happy to be a part of it because I just didn’t believe that after learning about that word cancer, I’d feel good. I’d feel like I ain’t got the cancer, and that’s what that clinical experience showed me, and made me feel like. So, I’m happy with it.
My advice to men, especially Black men, I advise them to check themself, your whole body, you need your health taken care of, if you want to be able to be out here and live with this prostate cancer. One thing I do know about Black men, they are afraid when it comes to taking care of themself as though they can look in the mirror and see all about themself and tell you whether there’s something wrong or not, but you can’t do that. I advise all men, not just only Black to take time out, talk to your provider. A lot of us got it, and we don’t even know we are carrying this around with us, but you like to go out and have fun, smoke your cigarettes, drink and do all your partying, but you’re still carrying that death weight on you. We don’t need that cancer, prostate. And I would advise all men, take time out and check yourself out, because it’s a good thing in life to do as being…want to be here on earth amongst other good men. And I would like to say, please do this, I’m a living witness.
Look at me. I feel just the way I look and I’m serious to tell you to take that time out for yourself.