Living With Metastatic Prostate Cancer

Dan Zenka, senior vice president of the Prostate Cancer Foundation, share his secrets for staying calm and seeking treatment while on his own journey with metastatic prostate cancer.

Kathleen Engel
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When Southern California resident Dan Zenka joined the Prostate Cancer Foundation as senior vice president in 2008, he couldn't know that just two years later, at age 51, he'd be facing Stage IV prostate cancer himself. His treatment has included a radical prostatectomy (removal of the entire gland and some surrounding tissue), radiation and androgen deprivation therapy (hormone therapy that reduces the production of testosterone). Dan offers his unique perspective:

Why it's a good time to be a patient with prostate cancer
There are five promising new drugs to treat prostate cancer—and more in the pipeline. Plus, we are studying the use of approved drugs in new ways and combinations. What's more, we now know there are 27-plus genotypes, or varieties, of prostate cancer. Soon we'll be able to better stratify patients and tailor their therapies to their cancer.

3 steps to stay calm with metastatic cancer
Take up a new interest. Make it something that's forward-looking. One of the best things I've done is to take up the saxophone. I've never played an instrument in my life. When I practice, I want to hit those darn notes, not think about cancer.

Don't hold it in. Find one or two people you can talk to.

Exercise. I lost 40 pounds after I was diagnosed. A healthy diet and lifestyle helps prevent recurrence. And for men on hormone therapy, exercise helps offset some of the side effects, such as muscle loss and fat gain.

For more on Dan's journey, check out his blog—

October 2012