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Glen Williams Mo BroImage by: Glen Williams
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3 February 2022

Glen’s Story: Finding the Right Treatment Path

Glen Williams
4 minutes read time

“I was diagnosed with prostate cancer in October 2017 at the age of 54. I’d gone to a private health clinic for a through and comprehensive physical. Doctors at the clinic were somewhat concerned at my PSA level at 6.71. I was then referred to a urologist for a biopsy, learning shortly the biopsy was positive, showing evidence of disease.

The urologist estimated I had may have had prostate cancer for perhaps five years. Hearing the news was certainly a shock, however given my PSA history the diagnosis was not entirely a surprise. Still difficult to hear “you have cancer”.

I immediately began researching various treatment options available, radiation or surgery, each with its own benefits as well as concerns.

Initially, I considered having brachytherapy (a type of internal radiation treatment where several radioactive seeds are placed in the prostate for a short period of time) This procedure would take place at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto. During that time, I also consulted with a colleague, sharing that, years earlier, her husband selected Brachytherapy, and his cancer had recently returned. Hearing this caused me to go back and consult with my family doctor and an appointment for a second opinion was arranged.

Within a few days I was contacted by the office of Antonio Finelli at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre in Toronto. Dr Finelli agreed removal of the prostate was required and would be done by the robotic method, a far less invasive option. Surgery took place in March 2018. Unfortunately, by the following September, my PSA levels returned, and counts started to increase. I then was scheduled for six weeks of daily radiation treatments in concert with quarterly hormone injection (ADT) therapy. First half of the radiation therapy went well, with little or no significant side effects. Around the halfway point, fatigue set in, as well as side mild side effects from the hormone therapy appeared. Mostly increased fatigue, weight gain, and brain fog. Radiation therapy wrapped up mid-October, and the hormone ADT injection treatment continued for the next two years.

I finished hormone therapy over two years ago. Within 6-9 months stated to feel much like my old self. Fatigue was reduced, the additional weight was coming off, and my mood became much brighter. During my ADT Treatments I was referred to Dr Andrew Matthew, lead Clinical and Health Psychologist at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. An extra ordinary medical professional. He was and still is, a tremendous help to me, in the management of side effects related to the ADT Therapy and other related issues prostate cancer patients must manage. 

In late 2020, my PSA levels came back for the first time since ending the hormone therapy, doubling every two to three months. I am now under the care of Dr Peter Chung, Radiation Oncologist at Princess Margaret. I recently completed a PSMA PET scan (a new type of scan used for the early detection of recurrent prostate cancer) in September which revealed some good news and some bad news. The good news was there was no cancer in my head, neck, spine or in the prostate bed. There were however cancer cells suspected in on rib and shoulder blade, resulting in an MRI scan shortly thereafter. A second PSMA PET Scan will soon be scheduled, expecting to show increased growth of the cancer cells and other possible location of disease. Dr Chung is to confirm when radiation treatments will be initiated, which should over the next several weeks.

I feel that I am receiving the very best care and expert medical attention available from the exceptional oncology Team at PMH, as well as the care and attention I receive from many other medical staff at PMH at related treatment or blood work appointments. It is very reassuring to know any decision on treatment going forward will be determined utilizing the latest available treatment options, and expert data.

Recently my journey took a bit of an unexpected turn. I learned that, given my history and current diagnosis, I can no longer expect an eventual cure for my prostate cancer through treatment options. Extending my life is now the focus of available treatment options. It’s still early days and I’m processing the news. However, I continue to be optimistic that there is much more runway ahead, with new and advanced treatment option breakthroughs in the near future for consideration. I can say with a sincere and high degree of confidence, I’m on the best possible treatment pathway.“

Glen is sharing his story ahead of World Cancer Day 2022 to help raise awareness for the prevention, detection, and treatment of cancer.

For more info on what you need to know and do when it comes to prostate cancer, head here.