Now 59, Doug Meehan had been monitoring his prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels for several years before he was diagnosed with prostate cancer in March 2020. The most common cancer in American men, besides skin cancer, about 1 in 8 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime, according to the American Cancer Society—but Doug hoped to never be one of them.
A local journalist and TV anchor in Boston, Doug had been to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute many times to tell patient stories and cover research advances. “The moment you step through the door and they put on the ‘patient’ patch instead of the ‘visitor’ patch, it changes everything,” he recalls.
Doug was impressed by his Dana-Farber team right away. Led by Filipe La Fuente De Carvalho, MD, PhD, Doug’s team presented him with several options for treatment, and Doug felt assured he was being treated truly as an individual, not just one of many patients.
“I was diagnosed in the middle of COVID and put on active surveillance, to monitor by PSA number and Gleason score and sit on it for a few years, so to speak,” Doug explains. “But when the time came that by Gleason score increased, we had to make the decision between radiation and hormone therapy or surgery.”
Doug was guided in this decision making by his team and his dear friend, Kristine Schreiber, who was with him every step of the way.
“From the checkups to the biopsies and everything else, it’s like taking a sip from a firehose when all of this information is coming at you,” he explains. “But you don’t do it alone; Kristine was with me every step of the way.”
With his care team and personal support, Doug made the call to have surgery, as that provided the option to have further radiation and hormone therapy, if needed, while starting with radiation left no option for surgery. As it turns out, when they removed his prostate and the cancer, there was still some cancer that remained, and his team was able to treat it.
Doug celebrated five months post-surgery by sharing his story on the WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon presented by Arbella Insurance on August 30, 2023. Patients like him who shared their experiences helped raise more than $4 million to support Dana-Farber’s mission to defy cancer.
“It’s remarkable the work Dana-Farber does on so many levels and with so many types of cancers,” Doug reflects. “The money that’s raised by the Jimmy Fund supports research and maybe down the line, someone else in my position may not need to have surgery or radiation.”
As of this summer, Doug’s latest PSA test shows no signs of cancer, and he hopes sharing his story will encourage men to not brush aside their own prostate issues. “If even one life can be changed or saved, it makes my journey worth it,” he says. Help support patients like Doug by joiningThe Dana-Farber Campaign, our ambitious, multi-year fundraising effort to prevent, treat, and defy cancer. The Dana-Farber Campaign will accelerate the Institute’s strategic priorities by supporting revolutionary science, extraordinary care, and exceptional expertise. As a community, we have the power to create a more hopeful, cancer-free future—in Boston and around the world. Together, we can defy cancer at every turn. Learn more about The Dana-Farber Campaign and how you can get involved at DefyCancer.org.