Donald Walker, Stage 4 Prostate Cancer

Comprehensive Cancer Centers is committed to offering groundbreaking research to its patients. In this Research Spotlight, learn how Donald’s participation in research has helped him live nine years with stage 4 disease.

When U.S. Army veteran Donald Walker returned from a tour in Iraq in 2011, he was looking forward to the holidays while stationed in Germany.

But the news that would soon come would result in one of the most difficult battles Donald would face in his life.

Just three months after returning to Germany, the 59-year-old was diagnosed with stage 4 prostate cancer.

Following skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer in American men. An estimated 2,090 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in Nevada this year alone.

A prostate cancer diagnosis can be serious, but the mortality rate has decreased in recent years due to advanced research and technology. The American Cancer Society estimates more than 3.1 million men in the United States who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point are still alive today.

Shortly after being diagnosed, Donald sought treatment in Germany and underwent robotic surgery. However, when he medically retired from service in 2014, he moved to Las Vegas to be closer to his family and seek further treatment.

That’s when Donald’s surgeon in Germany referred him to a former colleague during medical school and residency training: Dr. Nicholas Vogelzang, a medical oncologist at Comprehensive Cancer Centers.

Dr. Vogelzang sprang into action, starting Donald’s treatment with PROVENGE, a prostate cancer-fighting drug. Approved by the FDA in 2010, Dr. Vogelzang conducted early testing of PROVENGE in Illinois and also administered its first treatment in Nevada.

Since then, Donald has participated in three separate clinical trials as well as chemotherapy while at Comprehensive. One of the trials greatly reduced his prostate-specific antigen, which is typically elevated in men with prostate cancer. Another trial was a vaccine made from Donald’s own cells.

The 30-year veteran doesn’t know where he would be without the help of the trials offered to him, which have kept him alive for more than nine years.

Currently undergoing chemotherapy, Donald chooses to be optimistic about his cancer, knowing the next latest and greatest treatment could be right around the corner. He is among the hundreds of patients at Comprehensive participating in leading clinical trials right here in Southern Nevada, helping develop life-saving treatments for others facing a cancer diagnosis.

For more information on the latest trials offered at Comprehensive, click here or call 702-952-3350.