“When I step into Docrates, it feels like coming home to someone; the ambiance is cosy and welcoming.” Thus Kenneth Bäckström describes the feeling of Docrates. Kenneth has been a patient at Docrates for two years and has traveled here many times with his wife, Carina. During treatment periods, they are here every three weeks. “At Docrates, I am treated as an individual, not as a patient in the crowd.”
Kenneth was prepared to have to wait to get an appointment at Docrates. So he was thoroughly amazed when he got an appointment two days later.
“I was examined by Docrates’ staff in the morning and at 1 p.m. the same day I got to meet one of the Nordic Region’s leading cancer specialists – Docrates co-founder, oncologist Timo Joensuu. Timo calmly and clearly explained everything about my condition and what the tests showed, and presented a treatment plan. He put me directly on cytostatic drip treatment. In Sweden, up to that point, I had not received half the information that Timo was now giving me. It felt very safe and professional at Docrates from first appointment.”
At Docrates, every patient has a personal physician and nurse. In addition to Dr. Joensuu, Kenneth has nurse Henna Ikäheimo as his contact person. “I can call and email Henna and always get a quick response to all my questions. They give me all the information about my disease and treatment, which makes me feel very secure.
There is great personal commitment here. For example, my doctor, Timo, called me a few days after Christmas just to hear how I was doing. Another example is when my wife and I arrived in Helsinki one Sunday evening before a treatment appointment on Monday, and Timo came to the hospital that evening, to welcome us directly.”
Kenneth’s wife Carina agrees. “I’ve gotten to know the staff. They even care about me. They take the time to find out how I’m feeling and see to it that I’m as comfortable as possible. The nurses often come and sit with me while Kenneth is undergoing treatment.”
Kenneth and Carina are very pleased with the care at Docrates. “At Docrates there is no waiting; everything is under one roof here. If I’m having tests done or an examination, I usually get the results the same day. For a cancer patient, waiting for results is very stressful. The disease can indeed worsen over time, but there are also some dark thoughts that can come up.”
Men should be checked regularly
By going for regular PSA measurements, a curve can be plotted that will indicate any change in PSA level. PSA stands for “prostate-specific antigen”, a substance that occurs naturally in the body of a healthy man. Any change in the prostate will also change the value; this does not necessarily mean that the man has cancer.
Annual PSA tests for men over 50 are recommended by Docrates, because early detection of prostate cancer is crucial for a good prognosis, particularly if the disease is detected before it has spread beyond the prostate.
“If I had been tested regularly, my cancer could have been detected earlier and then perhaps I would not be where I am now.”
Kenneth’s cancer was discovered when he visited the doctor in August 2012 to get a medically fit certificate to send to his insurance company. He had no suspicion that anything was wrong. Kenneth was 58 years old, self-employed in the wholesale trade, exercised regularly and had been healthy his whole life. The test revealed that he had prostate cancer which had metastasized, i.e., spread and formed new tumors in the pelvis and lower back.
“The news came as a complete shock; I really felt healthy. I got a referral to a urologist in Helsingborg three weeks later. It was dreadful for me to have to wait three weeks, and for my family, as well. I didn’t even talk to my wife during that time and I couldn’t sleep.”
Prostate cancer that has spread as Kenneth’s had cannot be cured, but can be mitigated and held in check with the help of hormone therapy and other drug treatments. In Sweden he was sent to different doctors with long waiting times in between appointments. It was then, when Kenneth felt he was not getting help and that it was dragging on, that he contacted his insurance company, DKV Storebrand in Oslo. They advised him to contact the Docrates Cancer Center in Helsinki. The insurance would cover all costs if he were treated there.
Kenneth and Carina live in Rydebäck, a small community outside Helsingborg in southern Sweden. The first time that Kenneth and Carina visited Docrates was in June, 2013. They travel to Docrates by plane from Kastrup.During the treatment periods, they have mostly stayed at the patient hotel in the same building as Docrates. “It’s very convenient to stay in the same building as the hospital and the hotel maintains a very high standard”.
Kenneth has received a variety of care at Docrates: radiation therapy and drug treatments, including isotope therapy, where a radioactive marker substance is put into the patient’s bloodstream.It then gravitates to a tumor and destroys cancer cells with its radiation.
He also receives cytostatic chemotherapy, with cell toxins that make cancer cells stop growing and may kill them.
“I came to Docrates when the cancer had already spread in my body.But once I got here, I quickly got the help I needed. The treatment is hard on the body, so of course I get tired. ButI am very grateful for the treatment that I get here; it has given me a better quality of life.”