Super Patient: John Wagontall Gets a Third Opinion and Survives Prostate Cancer


Update:  We are deeply saddened to report that John passed away on December 18, 2016. It is a privilege to continue to share his story and keep his memory alive.

In the summer of 2004, John Wagontall looked like the picture of health. The 46-year-old Canadian had been a firefighter for 20 years, was an avid cyclist, and also worked out alongside his wife as she trained for a bodybuilding competition. The only sign that something was wrong was a bit of blood in his urine.

His doctor told John he had a bladder infection, prescribed antibiotics, and sent him home. And all appeared to be well until a few months later, when his urine was bloody again. This time, his doctor sent him to a urologist to learn the underlying cause of his recurring bladder infection. Continue reading…


ASCO 2015: Notable Reports on Prostate Cancer Treatment


This year’s American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) annual meeting was short on any truly exciting developments in prostate cancer treatment. In stark contrast to other cancers, such as lung, breast, kidney, and melanoma, there were no reports of note on targeted and immunotherapies in prostate cancer. The two presentations summarized here offered new strategies in chemotherapy. Continue reading…


Super Patient: Guido Tracks Side Effects from His Chemotherapy as a Young Adult


Sixteen years ago, Guido’s right leg hurt, but none of his doctors could figure out why. “I knew something was wrong, but nobody knew the reason. The worst thing was I didn’t know what to do about it,” says Guido, who was a college student in Austria at the time.

Tests didn’t show anything out of the ordinary, so he just had to live with the pain. But then, after nearly a year, it got so bad he was hospitalized—and this time X-rays revealed something growing around his thigh bone (femur). Genetic testing identified the growth as Ewing sarcoma, a rare cancer that usually affects children and adolescents. “It’s very uncommon in people in their 20s,” Guido says. “It’s not the first thing physicians think of.” Continue reading…


Now BATting: A New Treatment Approach That Uses Testosterone First, Then ADT


Androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) has long been a mainstay in the management of prostate cancer. Indeed, the vast majority of prostate cancers depend on androgens (hormones like testosterone) for their growth. Lowering testosterone levels with ADT is a reasonable approach. But it comes with two sets of problems. Continue reading…


Super Patient: Wade Hayes Beats Stage IV Colon Cancer—Twice


Country musician Wade Hayes had no idea he had colon cancer until it was almost too late. He’d had telltale signs: bleeding and lethargy—which is caused by anemia due to blood loss—for a couple of years. But these symptoms began when he was only 40 years old, a decade younger than when initial colon cancer screening is recommended. And he had no family history of the disease. Taking all of this into account, a doctor friend attributed Wade’s bleeding to his heavy weightlifting. Continue reading…


Drugs Home in on Bone Metastases in Prostate Cancer


Bone metastases are common in patients with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC). They are associated with increased risk of death due to a number of complications such as bone fractures, compression of the spinal cord, and pain. Radiation of the affected bone sites is used as a palliative measure to relieve pain. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has also approved certain drugs for treatment of bone metastases in CRPC including the following: Continue reading…


Not So Simple: Why PSA Screening Needs to Change


First, a little history: the protein PSA (prostate-specific antigen) was discovered in 1970 by Richard Ablin, PhD, while searching for a way to detect prostate cancer. He determined that PSA is indeed found in most prostate cancers, but is also present in healthy prostate glands, and is therefore not useful for diagnosing the disease. However, he did find that rising levels of PSA may signal a return of cancer in patients who were treated for prostate cancer, but relapsed. Continue reading…


Super Patient: Cancer Commons Helps Francesca Keep Fighting Pancreatic Cancer


Update:  We are deeply saddened to report that Francesca passed away on October 31, 2014. Her warmth, intelligence, and bravery will continue to inspire us. It is a privilege to share her story and keep her memory alive.

In 2011, Francesca knew something was wrong. Her stomach hurt and was upset after eating, and she just didn’t feel right. She had also lost a lot of weight, but thought that was normal, considering her life at the time. “I was working fulltime and had just stopped breastfeeding,” she explains. So when she went in for a checkup, she expected to hear it was a stomach problem. Continue reading…


ASCO 2014 — Takeaways for Prostate Cancer Patients


Every year, thousands of people gather for the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting. This year’s meeting took place in Chicago, Illinois. Here are some of the most notable new developments in prostate cancer treatment presented at ASCO 2014: Continue reading…