Jesse’s Story

“Knowing Your Bone Health is Important”

Jesse Penn was diagnosed with prostate cancer 18 years ago. He discovered the disease in a routine physical examination from his primary care physician. Jesse is a member of the PHEN Network.

With a Gleason level 6, Jesse chose to have radioactive seed implants (brachytherapy) at Memorial Sloan Kettering in New York. The procedure was very successful as measured by the drop in PSA and stability of evaluations at every three months. He stayed on this path, but at ten years, his PSA went to 6. A biopsy showed no cancer, however, a scan about a year later showed possible cancer in the lymph nodes in the groin area. He then had a procedure that removed 26 nodes, two had cancer cells. He was stable after this.

In late 2017, Jesse had a bone scan that was clear of cancer. In the early second quarter of 2018, he started experiencing severe back spasms that totally immobilized him. He went to pain doctors and orthopedic doctors looking for an answer. During one of these events he fell and fractured his femur. His femur was repaired and he spent three weeks in rehab to learn to walk again and build up muscle. However, his pain continued, and after a scan it revealed metastatic prostate cancer in his bones; primarily in his back.

Jesse’s oncologist put him on two drugs; Zytiga to treat the cancer and Xgeva to treat his bones. He responded quite well with a PSA of 0.01 within two months. Around November, he started an exercise program and gained 15 of the 25 pounds that he lost.  He can now walk 5 miles with no problem, play two rounds of golf a week, and in general, has a good quality of life. He sees the doctor monthly for check-ups.

Jesse Penn is 75 years old, married for 51 years and blessed with three children, and six grandchildren. He also has two brothers and two sisters.  Though their father did not have it, one brother and several of Jesse’s first cousins have been diagnosed with prostate cancer. Therefore, they believe the disease ran on their father’s side of the family.

Jesse is supporting PHEN’s efforts to raise awareness about the importance of prostate cancer patients knowing their bone health risk.

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