Making the MOST of life
with the next generation OF TREATMENT for prostate cancer
Lucky Seyler has a knack for adventure. He and his wife Karen have six daughters, 21, grandkids and 13 “great grands”. And if that isn’t enough of an adventure in itself, he also enjoys the outdoors, watching his grandkids play sports, and is always up for an opportunity to hit the road in his RV. In 2006, when Lucky was first diagnosed with prostate cancer, he decided it couldn’t set him back, and that adventure was calling him again.
“I was diagnosed when we were living in eastern Kansas in 2006. After my biopsy came back with cancer in all twelve of the samples and in some lymph nodes, we had a decision to make. My wife Karen and I decided if my prostate was full of cancer it was best to have it removed immediately. My urologist at the time performed a Prostatectomy (the removal of the prostate), and prescribed a hormone therapy pill that I took every day, and an injection I had every six months,” said Lucky.
Two years ago, after Lucky and his family had moved to Aurora, Nebraska, he was referred to Nebraska Cancer Specialists’ Medical Oncologist, Dr. Crockett. The marker in Lucky’s blood that demonstrated the degree of prostate cancer had significantly increased and scans had indicated his cancer had spread.
“When I first met Lucky, I knew right away he was a kind and caring person. If the saying goes that cancer seems to affect the nicest people, he would certainly be one to prove that rule,” said NCS Medical Oncologist, Dr. David Crockett.
Time for Something More
Lucky received the standard treatment of care for his prostate cancer, yet the marker in his blood continued to rise and despite all of the efforts his cancer continued to progress. After exhausting the standard treatments for his cancer, he was referred by Dr. Crockett to the NCS Theranostics Center and the team lead by Nebraska Cancer Specialists’ Sam Mehr, MD, Nuclear Oncology Physician, and Scott Degenhardt, NMAA, Director of Nuclear Medicine.
New Generation of Treatment
The NCS Theranostics Center is the first of its kind in the region. It consists of a team of professionals including a nuclear oncologist, pharmacists, technologists, registered nurses and a director of the program.
Theranostics is the next generation of treatment for cancer, relatively new to the United States, which describes using the combination of one radioactive drug to diagnose (nostics) and a second to deliver a specific targeted therapy (thera) based upon the initial targeted test. The diagnostic component determines and defines the type and extent of the cancer, which allows decisions to be made on the timing, quantity, type of drugs, and choice of treatment options. The therapy component focuses on individualizing treatment by targeting therapy to an individual’s specific cancer and administering the therapeutic agent to targeted tumors, which allows for higher doses administered safely to the patient without significant exposure to normal tissues.
“This treatment utilizes a chemical that uniquely goes to the surface of a cancer cell. After it goes to the cell, it is drawn inside the cell where the tumor’s DNA is located. Attached to that substance is a radioactive particle. The particle is carried into the tumor’s DNA where it damages and destroys the tumors cells ability to do harm,” said Dr. Sam Mehr, MD.
The theranostics treatment is administrated through a vein and circulated throughout the entire body. It is drawn to the tumor cells as iron filings are drawn to a magnet.
Even though this treatment is given much like conventional chemotherapy, the treatment is designed to kill the cells in the tumor rather than shrink or eliminate it. The side effects are few and generally easily tolerated by a patient.
“The goal of the treatment is to convert a potentially life threatening cancer into a chronic illness that is managed throughout the patient’s life. Much like diabetes, arthritis, and certain types of heart disease,” said Dr. Sam Mehr.
One of the unique benefits of receiving theranostics at NCS, is the added level of care from the nuclear medicine team in addition to the medical oncology team. The collaboration between the providers and care teams provide substantial attention to detail, dedication to the patient, and one-to-one care from both teams.
Lucky is one of the first patients in Nebraska to receive the theranostics treatment for his prostate cancer. Adults with prostate, neuroendocrine, and thyroid cancer tumors are among the first patients to benefit from theranostics. The next anticipated treatment will be for breast and lung cancer patients.
“I feel fortunate to be one of the first people in Nebraska receiving the treatment. For the most part I feel pretty good. I’ve had very little nausea or other side effects with this treatment,” said Lucky.
“I feel good about Lucky’s current treatment and pleased that we are able to give him the next generation of well-tolerated cancer care right here in Nebraska,” said Dr. Crockett.
The Next Adventure
Among some of the next adventures for Lucky include traveling to watch his grandsons play football and baseball and his granddaughter perform in gymnastics.
When asked what’s next, Lucky smiled and said, “we have a very close family and we enjoy getting together. It doesn’t always have to be a big planned event. Some of our best memories come from the impromptu get-togethers, burgers on the grill, and camping trips.”
“During this whole ordeal, it became very abundantly clear to us that this was the route we should take. With 21 grandchildren and 13 great grandchildren, we have a lot of living to do,” said Lucky’s wife, Karen.
NCS is proud to offer Theranostics in central Nebraska. The theranostics team travels to Grand Island to bring this treatment to patients in the area. “We remain committed to our mission which is to deliver personalized, comprehensive cancer care while respecting the values and needs of each patient. This includes being where the patients are and when they need us the most,” said Danielle Geiger, NCS Practice Administrator.
For more information on the theranostics center or to learn more about the treatment, visit NebraskaCancer.com/nuclear-oncology.