Mr. Art Cain, PHEN Survivor Network Member, Atlanta, GA
Mr. Art Cain described his prostate cancer journey at the third session of the PHEN Summit. He began having symptoms in 2012, but his PSA levels only rose by the end of 2014. He was first diagnosed with prostate cancer in January 2015. His biopsy showed a Gleason score of 8, but a bone scan and CT scan showed no metastasis. His treatments included radioactive seed implants and external beam radiation therapy. Even though his scans showed no spread, his PSA levels continued to rise. He became worried and made an appointment with a medical oncologist.
Another bone and CT scan showed metastasis. Mr. Cain went on standard-of-care hormone therapy and his PSA levels did decline. However, when his PSA numbers increased again, he learned about another oncologist from his support group. He first spoke with the doctor at a national conference in Washington and then went to a medical appointment where the oncologist discussed a clinical trial at Duke Cancer Center for Mr. Cain. He entered the trial and found the drug combination therapy trial reduced his PSA levels to undetectable levels, which have remained undetectable for the last three years.
Mr. Dewayne Charleston, PHEN Survivor Network Member, Prairie View, TX
At the third session of the 2023 PHEN Summit, Mr. Dewayne Charleston explained he was diagnosed with prostate cancer at 46 years of age in 2009. He went through 13 years of treatment and screening before starting a clinical trial in 2022. His treatment involved chemotherapy and his PSA numbers remained under 10. When his PSA level reached 10, his doctor prescribed Lupron medication. With the help of PHEN, Mr. Charleston was referred to a clinical trial. However, he first ended up on the waiting list for a trial.
Since that waiting list was too long, he was able to participate in a different clinical trial with assistance from PHEN. After four or five months in the trial, a bone scan looked like he was facing metastasis despite feeling better. For the next six weeks, he was taken off all medication except Lupron. His PSA dropped to 4.4 and he continued to exercise and lose weight. The possible metastasis had actually been bone flare. It took him 13 months more, but he was able to get back onto the clinical trial.
Mr. Sherman Womack, PHEN Survivor Network Member, Boston, MA
Mr. Sherman Womack detailed during the PHEN 2023 Summit how clinical trials were not introduced when he was first diagnosed with prostate cancer 18 years ago in 2005. He began learning more about clinical research over the last five years. Mr. Womack began chemotherapy in February of 2005. He has been treated at Mass General Hospital for the last 18 years and his oncologist wanted him to start a new clinical trial when the chemotherapy stopped working.
He first needed to complete his chemotherapy treatment and was then able to begin the trial in 2022. The clinical trial involved six treatments and Mr. Womack explained that the investigators and staff were very helpful, as he received numerous phone calls checking in on him. The trial also involved very minimal side effects, such as dry mouth and nausea. This discussion showed that clinical trial participation among prostate cancer patients is becoming more mainstream today.