• His Care, His Way: Tim Green's Story

    Cancer

    June 11, 2019

    The diagnosis of high-risk prostate cancer was a surprise for Tim Green, a lifelong farmer from Worcester. In the fall of 2017, the 70-year-old was only taking vitamin C and glucosamine for his knees and never had any health concerns.

    But when Green began experiencing urinary discomfort, his primary care doctor ordered a

    PSA (prostate-specific antigen) test. The blood test is one of the first tests done in men who have symptoms that might be caused by prostate cancer—and also for screening in men without symptoms. Green’s PSA level came back suspicious for prostate cancer, and a biopsy confirmed the diagnosis.

    “I just made up my mind I wasn’t going to let it beat me,” says Green, now 72. “Early on, it took me a little while to believe what I had, but I did think prostate cancer was one of the easier cancers to deal with. I said, ‘I am going to beat this, and that’s the way I’m going to look at it.’”

    Already A Survivor

    “I know what hard work is,” Green says. “And if I had anything in my life that taught me that you can adjust and regroup, it was when I was 24 when I had a severe farm accident. ”

    The accident necessitated major facial reconstruction and seven plastic surgeries. “I learned to adapt and look at life differently; to work with what you’re dealt with and adjust,” Green says.

    Green applied that same attitude to his cancer diagnosis.

    A Team Approach

    At Bassett, radiation therapists are a big part of the Cancer Center team. They play a large part in patient care, as they see patients multiple times—in Tim Green’ case, 44 times—for radiation treatments.

    “Roy and Fred and Shannon—all of them—they are super people,” Green says. “They really want to help you. Sometimes even when I don’t have an appointment, I just go in to see them.”

    Green’s wife, Barbara, who continues to be a wonderful support to her husband, agrees and says, “They made things easy and very comfortable.”

    Exploring His Options

    Green was referred to Nicholas Hellenthal, MD, Bassett urologist and chief of surgery, to talk about a surgical treatment for his cancer. But Dr. Hellenthal encouraged Green to meet with Timothy Korytko, MD, radiation oncologist at Bassett, to also learn about other options.

    Options for treating prostate cancer include:

    • Active surveillance (waiting and continued testing).
    • Radiation (with or without surgery).
    • Androgendeprivation therapy, used along with radiation treatment to improve cancer control.

    “I first thought I was definitely going to have surgery to remove it and be done with it,” Green says. “But I changed my mind, and I think that was the best decision for me.”

    “When I first meet with a patient, we go over what they want from treatment, what do they expect from treatment, and what their goals are,” says Dr. Korytko. “We take a look at how aggressive their cancer is; then we come up with a treatment plan.”

    Green decided he wanted to proceed with radiation treatment supplemented with a medicine called Lupron. Lupron therapy reduces levels of male hormones, which stimulate prostate cancer cells to grow.

    “Mr. Green decided how he wanted to proceed; it was the best decision for him, and he now feels great,” says Dr. Korytko.

    “I had a real good experience with Dr. Korytko,” says Green. “He was really up-front about everything and the side effects that might come down the road.”

    On his last day of radiation therapy, Green rang the bell to signify the end of that part of his treatment—a tradition in the Cancer Treatment Center. “My neighbor friend, Scott Brady, also came with me and played the bagpipes.” That’s just like Green—upbeat from start to finish.

    Clinical trials find ways to prevent, treat and cure cancer with innovative treatments—and Bassett patients can reap the benefits. Visit trialsbassett.org or call 877-547-1750.

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