With six of his brothers diagnosed with prostate cancer, 64-year-old Willie Myles took every precaution. The community college instructor faithfully underwent annual prostate screenings for more than 20 years, dating back to his days as a young chemist.
When his doctor informed him of a positive PSA, a blood test used to screen for prostate cancer, Mr. Myles recalled, "it was not something I wanted to hear, but I was not surprised. What was surprising was that the cancer was in an advanced stage."
He saw Dr. Dov Kadmon, a senior urologist and prostate cancer surgeon at Baylor St. Luke's Medical Center, who removed the prostate gland and placed him on a course of radiation and hormone therapy.
While prostate removal was enough to eradicate his brothers’ cancers, Mr. Myles’s case was more aggressive. The cancer was beginning to spread to his abdomen. His search for prostate cancer experts led him to Dr. Arpit Rao, an internationally-renowned medical oncologist who practices at the Dan L Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center. They discussed all options including clinical trials that Dr. Rao was leading and zeroed in on a combination of abiraterone and Eligard.
It worked. Just 30 days after starting the treatment, Mr. Myles’s PSA dropped to a non-detectable level where it remains today. He also has no evidence of cancer on clinical exams or scans. His body tolerated the treatments well, and he never stopped working as an educator and a minister throughout his cancer journey. Mr. Myles is back to walking and jogging six miles a day, playing tennis twice a week, and gardening regularly.
He is extremely grateful for the care he received from Dr. Kadmon and Dr. Rao. “I really appreciated their positivity. They were both very upfront about my condition but always insisted that they could help me and they did. I am so glad I have both of those guys in the fight with me,” said Mr. Myles.
"Willie made the right choices, first by getting screened and then by seeking the best expertise for his prostate cancer. It is incredibly gratifying to see that his cancer is in remission and that our approach has allowed him to live healthily and continue on the mission of helping others," said Dr. Arpit Rao.
Dr. Rao’s hope is that Mr. Myles’ story inspires other prostate cancer patients to not lose heart, and to seek expertise that is available for cancer patients at world-class institutions like Dan L Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Mr. Myles penned this advice for men over age 45:
- Talk to your doctor about annual prostate cancer screening. Remember that a low PSA level does not mean you are free of cancer.
If you are diagnosed with cancer, don’t panic. Find the best experts and get care ASAP.
Manage your thoughts. Don’t dwell on worst-case scenarios about your condition. Imagine yourself healed of cancer.
Do what you can to help the situation by exercising, eating healthy, and getting down to a healthy weight. Don’t worry about things outside of your control.
Lastly, enjoy life!