Hans received effective treatment for advanced prostate cancer
Like many other men in Sweden, Hans used to go to annual health check-ups, which included prostate-specific antigen (PSA) tests. When the 2005 health check was due, he had no idea that the PSA value would surprise him.
Today, 15 years later, Hans has just returned home from Docrates Cancer Center in Helsinki, where he has undergone his last radiotherapy session.
The first difficult message
Hans is a 73-year-old man, who is competitive through and through. That is what he has been since he was a little boy. He particularly likes skiing, in which he has also had some success.
Hans finds skiing interesting because he feels he does it well. When he pushes himself uphill, he feels strong.
“I also like going outdoors. It gives me strength.”
However, cancer was something Hans could not compete with. The crushing message that his PSA had risen to 4.1 completely changed the course of his life.
“It was a nightmare and a really difficult time. However, I was able to process it, and my wife Monika was also incredibly supportive. I was very lucky to be surrounded by my family in difficult times.”
Treatment starts in Stockholm
Further studies carried out on Hans confirmed that he had prostate cancer.
He received a referral to Karolinska University Hospital, where it was discovered that he could not be operated on. Hans was recommended treatment with external radiotherapy and interstitial HDR brachytherapy.
In November 2006, after the first treatments, his PSA was reduced to an immeasurable level.
“After this, I had check-ups every six months. For eight years, everything was fine, until my PSA value rose again in 2014. The message was as crushing as it was the first time. I had just got used to the idea that I was perfectly healthy, and everything had to start all over again. It was really difficult.”
His doctor suggested either chemotherapy or hormonal therapy. Hans favoured hormonal therapy because he had not heard much about chemotherapy. Unfortunately for Hans, the treatment didn’t work.
New hope from Docrates
In February 2018, Hans’ wife Monika read about a man who had been in cancer treatment at Docrates Cancer Center in Finland. The article explained treatment methods that aroused the couple’s interest.
“I called Docrates right away and had my first appointment already at the beginning of March 2018. I met Timo Joensuu, a specialist in cancer and radiotherapy, who was very optimistic about my situation.”
Hans first underwent a PET-CT scan at Docrates. As several metastases were detected in the scan, his physicians decided to start experimental lutetium radionuclide therapy immediately. The physicist at Docrates explained to Hans exactly what would happen in the treatment.
Hans says he has received very personal and individual service at Docrates.
“If I had an appointment at a specific time, I was treated at that exact time. If I was visiting a doctor, the health care personnel were aware of this every time. As someone who only speaks Swedish, I always got an interpreter to avoid misunderstandings.”
A positive message
After his first course of treatment, Hans returned to Sweden. He arrived in Helsinki again in mid-May. It was discovered that half of the cancer’s metastases had been destroyed. The following treatments were scheduled for June and July.
“Already in August, most of the cancer had been removed,” Hans says.
In order to eliminate the last metastases, chemotherapy was first planned for Hans, but it had to be discontinued due to a rash. The treatment changed to hormonal therapy, which Hans received at the Kristina clinic in Stockholm.
“When the doctor of the Kristina clinic read my file from Docrates, they were surprised at how the metastases had really disappeared.”
After hormonal therapy, Hans also underwent radiotherapy. In January 2020, his PSA value had fallen to an almost immeasurable level of 0.03.
Looking forward to the spring and summer
“Of course it’s hard, but in order to move forward and feel good again, you just have to go back to your daily routine. I try to pick myself up and feel as good as I can. I do not have any big plans at the moment, but I look forward to the spring and summer, when I get to go out and watch my grandchildren’s football games, for example,” Hans says.
Hans says Docrates Cancer Center was probably his salvation. There, he received hope and optimism, as well as great specialised medical care, which he was never offered at home.
“Simply great treatment,” Hans says, recalling his conversation with a Finnish patient just before returning to Stockholm: “We’re a little ahead of you in some respects,” they told me. I said to them, “You’re ahead of us in every respect.”