Lloyd Cabiness and his oncologist Dr. Rafat Ansari share two passions, golf and fighting cancer.
Lloyd spent his life in the classroom and Principals office, working in both Bremen and South Bend for nearly three decades.
Then ten years ago, Lloyd decided it was time to retire from the job he had dedicated his life to.
Lloyd says, “It was in 2001 right before I retired, I'd had a physical with my family doctor and the PSA County indicated there was a problem.”
When a biopsy confirmed prostate cancer, since he was otherwise healthy and energetic, Lloyd opted for surgery at The Cleveland Clinic.
Lloyd explains, “When they actually took the prostate out the Gleason Scale was nine and my surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic, Dr. Craig Zippe, said nines are usually not curable.”
It wasn’t the greatest news, but Lloyd and his doctor added the drug Casodex that kept him healthy for a long time. Lloy’s PSA for nine years stayed below one.
After nine healthy years, Lloyd started chemotherapy and radiation after finding his prostate cancer had moved into his bones.
But a recently approved drug by the FDA may be the silver bullet Lloyd is looking for.
Provenge is a new therapy for certain men with advanced prostate cancer and South Bend Oncologist, Dr. Rafat Ansari, is one of the only two doctors in the State of Indiana authorized to use it.
Rather than chemo, which also kills healthy cells and has many side effects, Provenge basically uses a persons own cells to create a highly personalized cocktail.
Dr. Ansari describes the process. “By taking their own blood cells and treating it at the lab and making them immune competent cells, they can go and stimulate the immune system to fight their own cancer.”
Lloyd will be Dr. Ansari's second patient. He has already used it on another Michiana man.
While it’s not a cure, Dr. Ansari says it may give people the time they need for the next exciting breakthrough.
Dr. Ansari says “This is an unmaintained remission, which means that they got three injections for six weeks and they have no other medications coming. So you are alive and free of symptoms three years later and taking no other medications. That's a wonderful remission. Now, we are talking about living with cancer.”
That is something Lloyd can live with. With no side effects, Lloyd says you just may see him back in the classroom again.