Reluctant Patient Grateful for New Technology

Retired deputy sheriff Kevin Patrick is an advocate for early detection of prostate cancer

Western medicine doesn’t hold much appeal to Kevin Patrick, 55, so he never scheduled regular checkups. As a deputy sheriff working in corrections, he has always tried to stay fit and eat healthy, and only went to see his doctor when something was wrong. Three years ago, though, Kevin thought he might need to be screened for prostate cancer because his father had it.

“I was visiting my doctor, and he asked if I had prostate cancer in my family,” Kevin recalls. “When I said yes, he wanted to examine my prostate, even though he was younger than the age recommended by national guidelines.

 

“At that point I wasn’t aware of how doctors examine the prostate, so when my doctor started to get ready and explained how it’s done, I said, ‘You know, let’s wait until I’m the age the guidelines recommend a first checkup.'”

A year later, Kevin returned for his regular checkup and had a prostate exam. The exam went fine.

“What troubled my doctor were the numbers from my blood test. He said they were higher from the previous year, so he sent me to urologist Dr. David Thompson.”

David Thompson, MD, wasn’t concerned about Kevin based on the prostate exam he conducted, but he was concerned about the results of Kevin’s blood test. Dr. Thompson performed a prostate biopsy, which confirmed prostate cancer.

A diagnosis of cancer can be alarming and life-changing, yet Kevin’s reaction was inspiring. “I’m a Christian, so even when I was diagnosed with cancer, I wasn’t afraid to die. I just appreciate life more now. There are conflicts I still want to resolve, things I want to say to people, and things I want to accomplish.”

After monitoring Kevin’s cancer for a while and discussing various treatment options, Dr. Thompson  referred Kevin to Mercy Health radiation oncologist James Kane, MD. Kevin chose treatment with CyberKnife, which delivers high doses of radiation to the prostate with pinpoint accuracy. It targets only the prostate, sparing nearby normal tissues.

“This new technology, CyberKnife, is a better option than most that I was aware of in the past. I don’t like the name, though. I want people to know that there is no surgery or use of a knife. CyberKnife is unobtrusive. You’re in and out of treatment in less time than it takes to go through a fast-food, drive-through window.”

Due to Kevin’s early detection, he only had five treatments with CyberKnife. He also agreed to proceed with SpaceOAR placement, a special hydrogel that spares tissue during radiation treatment and helps to reduce the side effects of the treatment.

“Modern technology has been a blessing for me, but I give God the credit for creating it and making it possible to help heal diseases like cancer.”

Kevin underwent CyberKnife treatment at Mercy Health Lacks Cancer Center’s Radiation Oncology unit. “Every person I met at Mercy Health wanted to help. From the doctors and nurses to the receptionists and technicians, I found people to be courteous and friendly. They seemed genuinely concerned.”

After retiring from the sheriff’s job before diagnosis, Patrick began working another job, which he soon left after the news from Dr. Thompson.

“After my diagnosis, I asked myself: ‘What’s more important, money or time?’ By retiring for good, I enjoy life and appreciate it more. I feel like I have a long life to go, work to do, and service to serve.”

Along with maintaining a healthy lifestyle, Kevin passionately offers this message to all men: “If you get screened for prostate cancer and catch it early, you’ll have less invasive treatment options.”

 

 

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