Prostate Cancer Survivor Stories

Mr. Charles “Chuck” Christian, PHEN Survivor Network Member, Randolph, MA

The wife of Mr. Charles Christian suggested he see his doctor after he was regularly getting up eight or nine times in the night to use the bathroom. He went to see his doctor in 2016 and was then diagnosed with prostate cancer. Unfortunately, the cancer had metastasized and reached his ribs, skull, and more. He looked over his scan and counted – he had as many as 150 to 200 tumors throughout his body!

This was a terrifying time in his life, especially since his father passed away from prostate cancer at 62 years of age. He began speaking about his prostate cancer journey on the Dr. Phil Show and Real Sports With Bryant Gumble. In 2022, he could not walk more than 50 feet, was in a wheelchair, and spent as much as 22 hours a day bedridden. He lost more than 85 pounds, was taking pain medication like morphine and oxycontin daily, and even spent some time in hospice care.

A few years ago, ESPN reported on his cancer journey since he also played for the University of Michigan football team in the past. Someone saw the article about Mr. Christian and told another man he wished he had Charles Christian’s number, as he knew a great doctor in Florida. The man he spoke with had Mr. Christian’s phone number, which led him to meet with the doctor. The physician suggested obtaining an innovative treatment of nuclear medicine in Europe.

He went to Vienna, Austria where he obtained the incredibly successful therapy that wasn’t yet available in the United States. After his first treatment, he no longer had the same level of pain and could walk as much as 2 miles per day. After his second treatment, he was 100% pain-free, had no side effects, and could walk as much as 4 miles per day. After one year of treatment, all of his tumors were gone, and he could bike up to 35 miles per day. The therapy literally saved his life.

Mr. Lee Moultrie, PHEN Ambassador, North Charleston, SC

Mr. Lee Moultrie explained how his story is somewhat different from Mr. Christian’s prostate cancer journey. He obtained his first PSA screening test in 1995 when he was 39 years of age. He then underwent PSA screenings for 20 years and it wasn’t until 2015 that his urologist found cancer after a urinary problem. His doctor recommended the active surveillance or watch-and-wait approach. He also advised Mr. Moultrie to change his diet and exercise routine while his medical team monitored his cancer.

His PSA numbers were low and he remained on active surveillance for six years. Mr. Moultrie emphasized that patients who are diagnosed with prostate cancer may not need treatment right away and should seek second and third opinions. When his prostate cancer progressed, Mr. Lee Moultrie was treated via proton therapy, which the federal government first approved in 1988. Both Medicare and Veteran Affairs paid for his entire treatment.

He began his eight-week treatment program in 2021, which involved a low-dose, non-invasive radiation therapy. Mr. Moultrie advises men to get screened early, consider active surveillance, and listen to their physician. Lastly, he mentioned how proton therapy is the best-kept secret for working-class people, as the federal government covers all costs.

Mr. Jerry Knight, PHEN Ambassador, Jackson, MS

Mr. Jerry Knight shared his story at the fourth session of the PHEN 2023 Summit. His father died from Stage 4 metastatic prostate cancer in 1996 at 67 years of age. His mother began urging him to get screened regularly due to his father’s death. He began screening and continued to do so until he lost his health insurance in 2012. When he obtained insurance and got screened in 2014, his doctor found his PSA score had risen to 9.0.

His primary care physician had sent him to a urologist who then saw that his PSA level had grown to 24.0. Then, his doctors completed a biopsy and diagnosed Mr. Knight with Stage 3 prostate cancer. After a CT scan, he found out his cancer did not spread outside of the prostate. As such, his doctors recommended removing his prostate to become cancer-free. In 2015, he underwent a robotic prostatectomy. Afterward, his doctor recommended 32 rounds of radiation therapy to be safe.

While sitting in the waiting room between his rounds of radiation, Mr. Knight read prostate cancer information and decided to form a prostate cancer support group. With the help of staff from the American Cancer Society, he formed a self-help group in which patients provide awareness and support during their monthly meetings. Mr. Knight spoke at events and passed out flyers across his city to raise health and wellness awareness as well as the importance of early detection screening.

In 2022, his PSA level rose to 0.2 and his cancer was detectable again. Mr. Knight pushed for his urologist to complete a PET scan, which showed a small amount of cancerous tissue in his pelvic area. Then, Mr. Knight underwent 25 rounds of radiation therapy and hormone injections. As of March 2023, he is once again cancer-free. Mr. Knight explained he believes God spared his life to help save other lives as an advocate.

Mr. Llewellyn “Llew” Fambles, PHEN Survivor Network Member, Oklahoma City, OK

Mr. Llewellyn Fambles explained during the fourth session of the PHEN 2023 Summit that he is in his third week of recovery since his radical prostate surgery. He was first diagnosed in 2019 with prostate cancer and was put on active surveillance for four years. He also underwent an MRI, but that MRI fell through the cracks due to the COVID-19 pandemic and Mr. Fambles’ long-lasting coronavirus. By April 2023, he inquired about the MRI and was told the doctors needed to conduct a biopsy.

Out of 14 tissue samples, the biopsy showed Gleason scores ranging from 8 to 10. Then he underwent a screening that required a radioactive tracer element and glucose. That’s when he learned cancer tissue feeds on glucose, which is produced in the body when people consume sugar and/or carbohydrates. He began thinking about why African American men get prostate cancer at higher rates and don’t survive it as often.

He realized it begins in childhood since school menus often include bread, burger buns, rice, pasta, mashed potatoes, French fries, and other fast food. These foods can feed cancer cells for 20 or more years until a person develops a tumor large enough to be detected. Fast food is also more affordable, which makes it a staple in many neighborhoods. Learning that glucose feeds cancer was an eye-opener for Mr. Fambles. While his brother and many of his cousins had prostate cancer, he saw that it’s impossible to control genetics, but it is under our control to improve our diet and exercise regimen.

It wasn’t until, after years of active surveillance, did he realize the importance of changing his eating and exercise patterns. He wants to let other Black men know about the right lifestyle changes and believes meeting them where they are, such as churches, barbershops, and ball games, can help make a difference.

Mr. William Thompson, PHEN Survivor Network Member, Los Angeles, CA

Mr. William Thompson spoke about his incredible story during the fourth session of PHEN’s 2023 Summit. He had end-stage prostate cancer and was able to achieve remission. How did he do it? Mainly through his diet. Mr. Thompson was initially diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2017. It was a very aggressive, late-stage cancer. He even received palliative care or end-of-life care at the beginning.

His first PSA test results were more than 2,000 and, six months later, his PSA levels doubled. Strangely enough, his biopsy showed that his prostate cancer did not metastasize and only reached the pelvic lymph nodes. However, his doctors told him his tumor was massive in size and inoperable. According to his physicians, his best-case scenario was to undergo chemotherapy to slow down the progression of his disease.

Mr. Thompson then asked what type of diet he should be on. His doctors did not believe a diet would make a difference, but that did not stop William. As a fitness trainer and nutritionist, he has studied nutrition books and talked to plenty of experts. His own mother is a registered dietician. Through this research, he knows that a whole-food, plant-based diet is the best option for cancer patients.

In 10 days, his intensive new diet helped his PSA levels drop from 6,000 to just slightly more than 3,000. After his PSA levels fell, his physician explained he no longer needed chemotherapy. After a little more than a month on his new diet, Mr. Thompson’s PSA level decreased to a mere 31.2. After an additional four weeks of following his new menu, his PSA level dropped to only 0.4. Two months after that, he saw his PSA rate fall to only 0.1.

Lupron was the only medication he took during this time to treat his prostate cancer. An ultrasound of his mass showed a small cancerous nodule left and his doctors decided to wait one month to see if he was eligible for surgery. However, his next PET scan showed no evidence of disease and only scar tissue left behind. He no longer needed surgery, but his doctor did recommend radiation therapy. Essentially, a plant-based diet saved his life.

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