Aided by MSK study, Cancer Institute Helps Monroe Man Fight Advanced Prostate Cancer

When Gordon Cleland found out he had advanced prostate cancer in January of 2017 he said he would do whatever it took to beat the disease. An avid runner and swimmer, the 68-year-old attorney said he was prepared physically to take on the rigors of surgery and treatment.

Typically, a patient with metastatic prostate cancer doesn’t undergo a prostatectomy — surgery to remove part or all the cancerous prostate gland. For decades, doctors believed the procedure wouldn’t be effective if the cancer had already spread to other parts of the body.

Through the Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute’s membership in the Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK) Cancer Alliance, Cleland found out that he would be a candidate for a recent MSK study.

Under the study, when there are metastasis to just a few sites, patients undergo androgen deprivation therapy (injections to lower the male hormone testosterone) and radiation to the metastatic sites. The patient then goes on to have a prostatectomy.

Cleland was a perfect candidate, so the team at the Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute at Hartford Hospital applied the protocol from MSK.

Prior to his surgery, Cleland received three to five highly focused sessions of stereotactic body radiation therapy at Hartford Hospital.

Cleland’s cancer was later declared undetectable. While he continues to see his urologist and oncologist for routine monitoring, he is grateful for each moment the clinical trial was able to add to his life.