Prostate Cancer Patient Urges Others To Get Screened
With a pastoral landscape adorned by four horses and a quaint town featuring merely three buildings, Mike Roane was reveling in the realization of his childhood dream. Relocating from Hanover County, Mike manages a horse farm with his wife in Kents Store, VA. His days are dedicated to the meticulous care of the horses, tending to fences, and savoring the occasional peaceful trail ride.
With a farm, three children, and four grandchildren keeping him busy, Mike continued to be diligent about scheduling his yearly Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) test with his primary care provider. In 2016 at age 72, Mike's provider shared that he had a spike in his PSA reading. "It was concerning," recalls Mike. Although Mike's primary care provider wasn't overly alarmed at the slight spike, Mike's intuition compelled him to seek further testing.
Prostate Cancer Screening and Treatment
Taking swift action, Mike promptly made a follow-up appointment with his urologist where he received another PSA test. "Within a month, my levels had surged even higher," he recounts. A biopsy followed, revealing the presence of Gleason 8, an aggressive form of prostate cancer. Based on this test result, Mike was referred to Dr. Andrew Romano Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital in Charlottesville.
"There were a lot of unknowns in our initial meeting. My main goal was to guide him into the right treatment," Dr. Romano says.
Mike was considered high-risk based on his biopsy, lab, and imaging results. Fortunately, however, the cancer had not metastasized meaning it had not spread to a different part of his body other than the prostate. Dr. Romano decided on a two-to-three-year treatment plan of radiation and androgen deprivation therapy with Lupron, which lowers testosterone to improve the effectiveness of radiation.
"I was told what to expect every step of the way," Mike says.
"Dr. Crimaldi sat me down and explained prostate cancer very thoroughly, so I understood exactly what I had and exactly what was recommended for treatment."
Prostate Cancer Treatment Side Effects
Mike experienced common side effects, the biggest one being hot flashes, but was able to keep things manageable with Dr. Romano's help. After completing radiation and two and a half years on Lupron, Mike's treatment was complete.
"He did great with his treatments, always maintained a positive attitude, and had a great support system in his wife." Dr. Romano says.
Prostate Cancer Journey and Patient Care Experience
When reflecting on his cancer journey, Mike says that his patient care couldn't have been better.
"It's one of those things where you could dread going to all of these appointments, but the atmosphere was so great, the staff, nurses, and doctors were all so positive and nice, that I never really dreaded going in."
Today, Mike has his strength back and is feeling great. He goes in for follow-up appointments every six months and is optimistic they will soon move to once a year. It took about six to eight months for his testosterone to return to normal, but Mike is now in remission and feels like he did before his diagnosis.
One in eight men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime with the average age of diagnosis at 66. Having a first-degree relative with prostate cancer doubles the chance of diagnosis so knowing your family history is important.
When asked what he would like others to know about prostate cancer, Mike didn't hesitate. "Early detection is a simple thing. Be your own best advocate. You know your body. If something doesn't seem right, don't delay and get it checked out."
By: Jordan Schoonover