Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center
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Edward Wright Sr. was on his way to Jamaica in 2012 when he received a call from his doctor alerting him about a rise in Edward’s PSA count. More tests would be needed, but they would confirm what his doctor suspected: Edward had a small trace of prostate cancer.
Over the next several years, Edward would undergo active surveillance of his cancer, first in California and then in Texas, where he moved in 2015. A Vietnam vet, Edward was receiving care at the Dallas VA when his doctors there noticed his PSA had again risen. They referred him to the specialists at UT Southwestern Simmons Cancer Center for further evaluation and possible treatment. “I met a great group of medical professionals there,” Edward says.
At Simmons Cancer Center, he saw Raquibul Hannan, M.D., Ph.D., Chief of Genitourinary Radiation Oncology Service, and Tamara Dickinson, M.S.N., a nurse practitioner who specializes in genitourinary cancer. Edward says of his initial visit: “When I left out of that hospital room, I felt so comfortable. They made you feel like they really had your back.”
He adds: “They walked me through the process. Told me everything would be alright. And it worked. Here I am.”
Edward’s team treated him with stereotactic ablative radiotherapy (SABR), which uses powerful doses of radiation to precisely destroy tumors while sparing normal tissue. It’s ideal for treating tumors located near critical structures. SABR was developed and researched extensively at UT Southwestern.
Edward’s SABR procedure occurred in December 2018 when his PSA count was 10.5. Today, his count is just 0.52 and Edward considers himself a cancer survivor. The entire experience has made him a passionate advocate for early screening to detect prostate cancer in its initial stages, when it is highly treatable.
“It put me on another journey,” Edward says. An ordained minister, telecommunications specialist, and middle school teacher, he started a foundation – Real Men Talk About Cancer: We Can Win – that encourages all men, especially African Americans, to get screened for prostate cancer.
“Early screening is the key,” he says. “Real men have these exams. That – and the Simmons Cancer team – is why I’m alive.”
The Simmons team, he says, “guided me through to where I am today. They showed so much passion and concern for my health.”
That’s what Simmons Cancer Center and now Edward himself are doing: creating a future without cancer.