Prostate Cancer Survivor
- Diagnosed May 21, 2001, with stage IV prostate cancer at age 45
- Treated with hormone therapy
Back in 2001, Drew Bouton began to experience discomfort that led him to a urologist where he received antibiotic treatment for what was then thought to be an infection.
But what Drew found out after several tests for symptoms that persisted despite antibiotic treatment was that he had Stage IV prostate cancer with a Gleason score of 4 to 5.
“There was an unyielding feeling of unreality," Drew says after getting the diagnosis, mostly because he was only 45 years old. His doctor told him that he had probably had this cancer for the last 10 years.
Drew's doctor did his best to answer all of Drew's questions. But the one fact that hit very hard was that this doctor said that Drew's cancer was not curable. He told Drew he probably had about two years to live. "But, the doctor said it’s a bell curve and the idea is you want to get down on that far shelf and attitude has a lot to do with it," Drew says. "At that moment I had a stake in the fight. I had an influence on how it was going to work out. I think I found that to be true. Here I am."
In excellent health otherwise, and young for such a diagnosis, several friends and family members recommended Seattle Cancer Care Alliance to Drew for his treatment, most specifically Dr. Celestia Higano, medical oncologist at SCCA.
"One of the things you learn about cancer treatment almost immediately is that it’s a process," Drew says. "It has its own imperatives, meaning you can’t force it. You can’t rush it. You’re going to get what you need to know when they’re going to tell you. There are delays between diagnosis, examinations, and tests and the results being reported back."
Drew’s cancer treatment began with hormone therapy to cut off the testosterone that was feeding his cancer.
"There are so many negative associations with cancer," Drew says. "You immediately think it means I’m old and decrepit, I’m rotting from the inside out, and of course death. It used to be when I was a kid, people--adults--would refer to cancer as the Big C, meaning it was always fatal. And then of course my particular diagnosis was, you know, more extreme variant."
“So, with cancer for me, the trick is to try to keep my life as intact as it can be, but also recognize that I’ve got this crazy thing going on that takes a lot of attention,” Drew says.
“I think the first thing that comes to mind is to be patient and that’s almost an impossible thing,” Drew says, “because you want to grab for it, for the first remedy you can think of and you want the whole world to stop and start focusing on your problem and for most of us that isn’t going to happen. But you have to trust that this process will eventually arrive at what you need and you can’t force it. But you’ll get there.”