Steve Pitman thought he was simply ‘getting old’ when he began feeling unwell in late 2012.
Doctors had told the 58 year old father of three that his aches and pains were likely a sign of arthritis but a blood test revealed the tragic news that he had stage IV prostate cancer.
His family, including his 24 year old daughter, Sahra Pitman, had been hopeful following his initial diagnosis.
“He told me that the doctor had said that he has 10 to 20 years left, which to me just wasn’t enough time. I began thinking of how old I would be and how even though he would get to meet his grandkids that he wouldn’t get to see them grow into young adults. This absolutely killed me inside, however we tried to stay positive that night,” Sahra said.
The prognosis quickly became dire, as full body scans exposed metastasised cancer through his lymph system and bone marrow, resulting in bone cancer.
“The next afternoon when I went back into the hospital to see him, I found out that after having more tests done that he only had 12-24 months left. All of a sudden I wanted the 10-20 years back. Not only would he not see my kids grow up, but he wouldn’t even get to walk me down the aisle or see a grandchild for that matter.”
Steve lost his battle with prostate cancer on April 15th 2013, a mere 6 months after his diagnosis.
Prostate cancer remains the most common cancer diagnosed in Australian men and the third most common cause of cancer death.
Perkins Director, Professor Peter Leedman, heads a team investigating prostate cancer and claims that medical research is the best way to save men like Steve in the future.
“The Perkins have made some major discoveries in the last decade towards developing better treatments with less side effects and better diagnosis techniques to detect prostate cancer as early as possible,” Professor Leedman said.
“My team discovered a new gene called SLIRP that has the ability to control hormone production in tumours. Prostate cancer is what we call a ‘hormone dependant cancer’ meaning that it requires testosterone to grow.”
“Research projects at the Perkins have revealed that we can use this gene to turn off testosterone production, essentially starving the tumour and making it more susceptible to targeted drugs and your body’s natural immune system.”