Don’s Story: Recurring Prostate Cancer Chances and Treatment Options

by | Aug 30, 2023 | Can Cancer Come Back After Treatment


“Adversity breeds opportunity. And that is the way I view a second prostate cancer diagnosis, nearly seven years after the first battle. It is an opportunity to get better, to live better, work on the bucket list and help other men and their families facing this disease,” says Don Kearns, a patient at the CyberKnife Center of Miami.

When Don was 55 years old, he was diagnosed with early-stage prostate cancer thanks to a PSA blood test and a subsequent biopsy. 

While doctors recommended surgery for his first bout with prostate cancer, he chose to do his own research and found CyberKnife Miami – a free-standing outpatient cancer treatment center that uses state-of-the-art image guided radiosurgery treatments called stereotactic body radiation therapy or SBRT for prostate cancer.

Like many patients, Don chose CyberKnife because treatments can be done in 5 radiation therapy sessions over 10 days compared to 42 over three months with other types of radiation treatments. And because he learned, the CyberKnife radiation beams, are so precise, it decreases the risk of side effects including impotence and incontinence, which was very important to Don.

“The whole process was a piece of cake. I would lay down on the CyberKnife table for each forty-minute treatment, relax and listen to my special music play list. It is fascinating how a machine, which makes no noise, is so powerful,” Don says, who had no long-term side effects from CyberKnife.

That is a big reason why when his prostate cancer came back, he again chose CyberKnife treatment.


Prostate Cancer Recurrence

According to the Prostate Cancer Foundation, — regardless of what treatment option you choose, there’s a 30-to-40% chance that the cancer will recur among 25-to-30% of all men. That includes men treated with either surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, hormone therapy or a combination of these treatments. 

Prostate cancer tends to recur in the prostate or the seminal vesicles (sacs next to the prostate where semen is stored.) It may also spread through the pelvic lymph nodes to the rectum or pelvic wall. And it can also metastasize to the bones or other organs.

Oncologists says, prostate cancer recurs because the initial treatment did not kill every single cancer cell or because the cancer cells had already spread without being detected.

“CyberKnife radiation therapy is an excellent tool to treat recurrent prostate cancer or cancer of any kind,” says Don’s radiation oncologist and medical director of CyberKnife Miami Dr. Mark Pomper.I have no doubt CyberKnife radiotherapy will work just as well for Don this time around as it did the first time. He had no side effects and was able to continue with his life during his cancer treatments with the least amount of disruption, while maintaining quality of life. He will get 5 treatments in 10 days and be able to put cancer behind him. I expect Don to live a normal life span.” 

Don says, “Right after each treatment I hit the gym and was lifting as much weight as before treatment. I went right back to work, traveling the country doing sales and spent as much time as possible with my wife, daughters, and grandkids without missing a beat.”

Prostate cancer recurrence is often treatable and may even be curable. That is the hope for Don. The survival rate remains high. At least 94% of patients live at least 15 years after their original diagnosis.

Some men continue to battle the disease for years – undergoing treatment to manage the disease and its symptoms, much like a chronic illness, such as diabetes, according to the experts at CyberKnife Miami. 

CyberKnife Miami sees and treats many men with recurrent or metastasized prostate cancer. For these men, prostate cancer becomes akin to managing long-term diseases like diabetes or heart disease.


The CyberKnife Advantage

“Years of mounting research is proving CyberKnife to be the gold standard for treating prostate cancer, and as more men learn about CyberKnife, it is becoming the number one treatment of choice,” says Dr. Mark Pomper.

For patients with recurrent or metastatic prostate cancer, ones who cannot have surgery, failed other treatments or have been told there is nothing left to do – CyberKnife often can be a viable treatment.

  • It is noninvasive. 
  • There are no risks of infection or extended periods of downtime like there are with surgery.
  • The CyberKnife radiation beams, which target and destroy cancer, are exceedingly precise. That means healthy tissue is unharmed.
  • Treatments are outpatient and last 30 to 45 minutes.
  • Side effects are minimal and may include fatigue and urinary frequency.
  • Patients can be retreated with CyberKnife.

Prostate Cancer Treatment Miami

At the CyberKnife Center of Miami, we treat prostate cancer patients every day. That is one reason patients from around South Florida and the country turn to us for care.

If you would like to find out more about prostate cancer treatment with CyberKnife, call us at 305-279-2900 or go to our prostate cancer website now for more information

You have to be your own patient advocate. The only person looking out for you, is you,” says Don.