RETIRED FLIGHT ATTENDANT Paul Gauthier has been courageously fighting prostate cancer since 1996.
Initially, Paul battled his cancer using radiation instead of chemotherapy, avoiding surgery and hormonal therapy because of the side effects. But after his cancer recurred, Paul began hormone therapy in January 2007.
Testosterone, the hormone responsible for male characteristics, helps prostate cancer cells grow. Hormone therapy reduces testosterone levels, shrinking tumours and reducing symptoms of disease. However, hormone therapy can also cause side effects, such as decreased bone density, muscle strength and thinking abilities.
Soon after starting hormone therapy, Paul joined a Canadian Cancer Society-funded study in Toronto, led by physician and researcher Dr. Shabbir Alibhai, examining the impact of hormone therapy on quality of life.
"Men being offered hormone therapy need to think about the benefits and potential side effects," says Dr Alibhai. "Our results will help us better understand the effects of hormone therapy, enabling them to make more informed decisions."
Despite its side effects, hormone therapy has been an important means of keeping Paul's cancer in check, allowing him to resume his busy life and even continue to travel.
"With the improvements and research being done, I see my prostate cancer as a manageable condition,” says Paul. “I don’t view it as a death sentence."