EUGENE, Ore. — In just a few days, a groundbreaking prostate cancer treatment will celebrate its three-year anniversary of FDA approval.
Tim Daughtery was living a normal life in Florence with his wife Debbie, their three grown children and two grandchildren. That all changed in 2010 when he got the news that he had an advanced stage of prostate cancer.
But thanks to Provenge, a relatively new form of immunotherapy, he’s now able to continue his life with much more normalcy and a stronger sense of security.
“I found out on a whim, went in for a routine physical, and my wife asked the doctor to give me a PSA test,” Daughtery said.
PSA is a substance produced by the prostate gland. Elevated levels are often an indication something may be wrong.
Daughtery’s were four times the upper limit of normal.
“We were kind of just shocked you know. It took the wind right out of our sails,” Daughtery said.
He was 49 when he found out that the cancer had spread.
“He had surgery and he had recurrent disease after surgery, had radiation therapy with hormone therapy and his prostate cancer still started to recurr. So there’s a whole field now of advanced prostate cancer treatments and Provenge is one of those,” said Dr. Bryan Mehlhaff, Oregon Urology Institute.
Though in its infancy, Daughtery jumped at the opportunity for both himself and his family.
“I was willing to do anything. I don’t know why anyone wouldn’t,” Daughtery said.
Provenge works by taking a patients’ own white blood cells out, training them to attack the cancer and giving them back to the patient. Daughtery saw a change after three treatments.
“Right now I’m happy. I’m healthy. I’m able to teach, able to ride my bike. I surf. I get to do everything I want to do, and i’m enjoying life,” Daughtery said.
To date, Daughtery has no signs of disease progression and is able to live his life fully once again.
“I’m looking forward to a long healthy life and so is family, but cancer’s always in the background and I hope it stays back there,” Daughtery said.
Dr. Mehlhaff says this treatment is great, but it’s really only the beginning. Research on better ways to attack prostate cancer continue. In fact, Daugherty is participating in a clinical trial now.