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Jamal’s Story: A Quest for Clarity in the Face of Advanced Prostate Cancer

Jamal’s Story: A Quest for Clarity in the Face of Advanced Prostate Cancer from Patient Empowerment Network on Vimeo.

Advanced prostate cancer patient Jamal’s diagnosis came as a shock in his mid-50s. Watch as he shares his experience from diagnosis, a second opinion, and treatment and his key advice for staying on the path of patient empowerment.

Disclaimer: This cancer patient story has been edited to protect the privacy of certain individuals, and the names and identifying details have been changed.

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My name is Jamal, and I was diagnosed in my mid-50s with advanced prostate cancer. I’m a Black man, and my prostate cancer diagnosis came as a surprise. The only unusual thing I had experienced was a slightly weaker urinary stream, which I dismissed as nothing at the time.

Even though I go for annual medical checkups, my high PSA level was discovered during free prostate cancer screenings at my church. I was referred to an oncologist who ordered a biopsy and CAT scan to aid in my diagnosis and treatment. After receiving my results, I was informed of my advanced prostate cancer diagnosis and was pretty shocked. My oncologist recommended hormone therapy and surgery to remove my prostate. Like many people, I was worried about the idea of having surgery. I decided to get a second opinion from another oncologist.

I really liked the second oncologist as soon as I met her. I really felt like she was truly listening to me and to my concerns about surgery. After looking at my test results, she recommended hormone therapy that might need follow-up with a novel hormonal therapy to treat my advanced prostate cancer. I felt both relief and hopeful about my treatment plan.

Even though I experienced some side effects of fatigue and loss of libido, my hormonal therapy was effective. My wife was also an amazing  care partner during this time. My initial treatment was enough to take care of the cancer, and I continue to get scans every six months to ensure that I remain cancer-free. I’m feeling well and enjoy a full life with my wife, kids, and grandkids. I also enjoy hiking, tennis, and traveling.  I’m so grateful to my family and friends for their support, and I’m happy to share my cancer story to help others who are newly diagnosed. Cancer is scary, but your journey can be eased with the help of excellent oncology care and support from those who love you.

Some of the things I’ve learned on my advanced prostate cancer journey include:

  • Empower yourself by getting a second opinion if you feel like you want one. A second opinion is nothing to feel guilty about in your journey to seek your best advanced prostate cancer care.
  • Seek care or a consultation at an academic cancer center if possible. These institutions are better equipped to stay abreast about the latest advanced prostate cancer treatment options.
  • Ask about clinical trial options. There may be programs that will help you with travel, lodging, and other uncovered expenses.
  • If you feel like you can help others, join a support group to share your story. Sharing my story has been a blessing in disguise so that I can help others who may be suffering in silence.

​​These actions for me were key to staying on my path to empowerment.