The Avera Cancer Institute is now an official infusion center for a brand new FDA approved treatment for advanced prostate cancer. Nancy Naeve Brown met the man who went through this immunotherapy last year in Chicago and was instrumental in helping to get it in Sioux Falls.
Lyle Sechser from Sioux Falls was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2005. After a radical prostatectomy he had 5 weeks of radiation followed by years of hormonal therapy. In 2010 some friends of his told him about PROVENGE a new immunotherapy for prostate cancer patients. It's the first FDA approved vaccine for cancer in adults that uses your own immune system to help fight off the cancer cells. At the time Lyle was getting PROVENGE the closest hospital to offer it was in Chicago. He traveled back and forth for 5 weeks.
Lyle says, "The stress in going to other places is one reason I wanted to get it here and because the environment is different somewhere else."
Lyle's Avera Oncologist Dr. Mark Huber says while not everyone is a candidate for PROVENGE, it is nice to be able to provide this innovative, state-of-the-art treatment in South Dakota, available only at the Avera Cancer Institute in Sioux Falls.
Dr. Huber says, "PROVENGE is used much earlier in the disease course (than chemotherapy). Really it's used for people not having any symptoms at all or very few from the cancer and usually it's used for people with slow moving prostate cancer."
Lyle says, "It's working and I have inner piece from the treatment. I haven't had any side effects from the treatments. I'm improving and feel really good. My strength is better. I'm pleased. The environment here is so engaging here. Avera has something very special."
Dr. Huber says, "There are minimal side effects. You might get a little fever, cold or flu-like feeling for a day or two but compared to chemo it's much easier."
Even though Lyle didn't get the treatment here, he's happy to help bring it here by providing his personal experience with it; an experience that's been all positive.
Dr. Huber says that while PROVENGE does not cure prostate cancer, it delays it without the harsher side effects of chemotherapy and has a four month survival advantage on average. A Luverne, MN man started using PROVENGE a couple of weeks ago making him the first patient to get this breakthrough therapy for advanced prostate cancer at the Avera Cancer Institute.
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