by Mike Lee
It’s mid-morning and Mike Kastl is giving his granddaughter a bottle and trying his best to get her down for an 11 a.m. nap.
The 67-year-old could use a nap himself but he’s happy to oblige. In fact, he’s happy to do most anything these days after beating cancer.
When he’s not bouncing his grandbabies around the former ag teacher is spreading the word to other men about how important annual checkups are.
He believes to this day it is checkups that saved his life.
It was 2009 when Kastl and his wife both were hit with cancer diagnosis.
The PET scan of her bile duct came back red hot.
A trip to the Mayo Clinic in Houston followed, as did a life expectancy of three-to-five years.
“She only lasted two,” Kastl said.
It was during this time that Kastl found ProCure Proton Therapy Center for himself.
It was during an annual checkup that he learned his PSA score had doubled. It was a big enough jump to be referred to a urologist for a biopsy.
“They took it in two different places,” Kastl said. “One showed five percent cancer and the other showed 20 percent cancer.”
His options were radiation, surgery and then a new thing with protons.
“He kind of blew it off but I was taking notes,” Kastl said of the visit with his doctor. “When somebody says you’ve got the big C you start listening real close. I was online 24/7 looking at prostate cancer treatments.”
During his research he stumbled upon Robert J. Marckini’s book You can Beat Prostate Cancer: And You Don’t Need Surgery to Do It.
He read it and followed his sister’s urgings to contact the new ProCure Proton Therapy Center in Oklahoma City that was just being finished.
He began his first of 44 treatments in August of 2009 and holds the distinction of being ProCure’s first prostate patient.
“The quality of life is what makes ProCure, I think, much better,” he said. “My quality of life is better for having gone to ProCure. No side effects. I didn’t lose any hair. I was out working cattle.”
When he’s not watching Elmo videos he’s running cattle with his brother at his ranch in Stillwater.
And when he’s not doing that he’s telling other men about prostate cancer.
Other than skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in American men. The American Cancer Society’s estimates for prostate cancer in the United States for 2015 are:
About 220,800 new cases of prostate cancer.
About 27,540 deaths from prostate cancer.
Prostate cancer occurs mainly in older men. About six cases in 10 are diagnosed in men aged 65 or older, and it is rare before age 40. The average age at the time of diagnosis is about 66.
Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in American men, behind only lung cancer. About one man in 38 will die of prostate cancer.
Prostate cancer can be a serious disease, but most men diagnosed with prostate cancer do not die from it. In fact, more than 2.9 million men in the United States who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point are still alive today.
When discussing cancer survival statistics, doctors often use a number called the 5-year survival rate. The 5-year survival rate refers to the percentage of patients who live at least five years after their cancer is diagnosed. Of course, many of these people live much longer than five years (and many are cured).
Five-year relative survival rates assume that some men will die of other causes and compare the observed survival with that expected for men without prostate cancer. This is a better way to see the impact of the cancer on survival.
Proton therapy can precisely target your tumor, reducing damage to healthy tissue near the tumor and potentially allowing you to receive higher, more effective doses of radiation. Proton therapy not only effectively targets a tumor, but it can also be used in combination with chemotherapy, as a follow-up treatment to surgery, and in combination with standard X-ray radiation treatment.
Today, Kastl is remarried and has a new lease on life. And he enjoys all the extra time he has to spend with his grandkids.