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Patient Story: Gene D. Slattery

A patient story of watchful waiting and now active surveillance by Gene Slattery.

Active Surveillance (AS) was introduced by some real visionaries approximately 10 to 15 + years ago by physicians who looked for answers and wanted to give men some better options for their prostate cancer (PCa). Dr. Gerald Chodak, (IL) Dr. Laurence Klotz, (CAN) Dr. Mark Schultz (CA) and Dr. Jelly Barentsz, (NL), stepped outside the box and offered AS to their patients when no one was hardly talking about watchful waiting. They believed that low-grade cancers did not need immediate treatment, that men could have time to research their options and not have to worry about their cancers. I was just at Prostate Cancer Research Institute (PCRI) Cancer Conference in LA, there were 4 meetings on Active Surveillance. It was a great weekend of learning.

I went on watchful waiting 10 years ago and I was one of two people in my urologists practice who decided to do that. My urologist was not in favor of me doing this and told me so. I told him I was not going to have chemo, radiation or surgery until I researched where my prostate was and what it’s function and purpose was to my body? So, I left him, and he thought I was making a big mistake.

I went home and started to research everything about my prostate and the more I learned the more I believed with a good plan of action I could change my lifestyle and exercise to help with some of the issues lying ahead. I changed my lifestyle, implemented a cancer-fighting food plan for life, an exercise program, faith, supplements, will power, a positive attitude, a flexible protocol designed just for me. I lost 25 lbs. in about two weeks and for the year 2009, I lost 65 lbs. I felt great and have had 10 years of extremely good health and a great quality of life. I became a new and maybe a more likable person?

Today I am a patient with a Gleason 3+4=7 with a T2-T3 prostate cancer and a PSA that for the last 3 years has stayed between 29.4 and 30.2 and now at 30.1. My cancer is followed by Color Doppler with a doctor in Phoenix, AZ for the last 5 years. My family, friends, and doctors all told me I was crazy but within two years they knew I was doing the right things for me.

Today there are over 1,000 types of cancer cells and still counting. 10 years ago, we thought there were 12 and then 25 but never dreamed of 1,000 types. How can we all be treated with the same 3 treatments of chemo, radiation, prostatectomy? Today every treatment is starting to be targeted to keep the side effects limited and then be able to be treated again if needed. Each of us is an individual and we should be treated as a person unique from everyone else. We should consider a physician who looks at us this way and who talks to us about our whole body.

If we have heart trouble or other issues they need to be fixed first, then worry about the cancer. Once our body is firing on all cylinders, we have a chance of surviving and putting our cancer to rest so we can have a good quality of life for ourselves and our families.

ASPI has found many men who are living up over 20 + years with PCa.
ASPI is working with men who have BPH, rising PSA, newly diagnosed and men on AS.
ASPI researches and interprets the data to empower and educate men on taking a deep breath, slow down and look at every option there is for putting their cancer to rest. ASPI is patients talking to patients helping each other and being a part of the sea change that is here today for AS. Talking to each other we can effect change in how we are treated.

These thoughts are of my own making. I am not a doctor nor in the medical field. I am a patient who has professional help to have a good quality of life living with my cancer on the journey of life. Each person who has cancer should find a great physician who he can trust his life too and have a good relationship and communication with him so the two of you are on the same page to fight the cancer with all the best options available in the arsenal.

Thank you
Gene D. Slattery