Every year, September 19 is a big day for Bob Massey. For starters, it’s his birthday. It’s also the day his first granddaughter was born. And, it’s the day he was diagnosed with prostate cancer.
The cancer was discovered in 2008, during a routine physical. When he heard the news, Massey’s first reaction was to learn as much as possible about the disease.
“My wife, Nina, and I went online and we read and we read and we read. We read everything we could find,” said Massey.
He also talked to physicians and other people who’d had prostate cancer. After investigating every option, Massey decided to receive treatment at the Curtis and Elizabeth Anderson Cancer Institute (ACI) at Memorial University Medical Center. His physicians were John Duttenhaver, M.D., radiation oncologist at the ACI, and L.E. “Bud” Robertson, M.D., oncologist with Summit Cancer Care.
Before starting treatment, Massey was given the option of participating in one of the many clinical trials offered at the ACI.
“It was not difficult to decide to do the trial. I knew I would do anything that would help me survive,” said Massey. He enrolled in a trial that compares the results of radiation treatment alone to radiation treatment followed by specific chemotherapy drugs for localized, high-risk prostate cancer. Massey was put into the “radiation only” group.
He had radiation therapy five days a week for 42 days. He would go to treatment early in the morning and then go to work as the district manager of Rowe Drilling Company. Massey said he felt good and had almost no side effects from the treatment. His last radiation session was February 19, 2009. He’s now receiving hormone suppression therapy to decrease the risk of the cancer coming back.
September 19, 2009, was the one-year anniversary of Bob Massey’s cancer diagnosis. More important, it was his 72nd birthday -- a day to celebrate life, family, strength, and survival.