Steven Montgomery and his granddaughter, Samaya.

Steven Montgomery recounts his health journey for September’s Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, and how he has continued to prioritize loving and supportive relationships throughout, such as with his granddaughter Samaya.

Mere months after receiving a Stage IV prostate cancer diagnosis, Steven Montgomery could be found in Loma Linda University Cancer Center’s waiting room or infusion center offering words of kindness, encouragement, and prayer to other patients and staff. A husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, neighbor, and friend, 68-year-old Montgomery says he has always valued the importance of fostering loving and supportive relationships — especially through difficult, uncertain times.

John Shin, MD, Montgomery’s oncologist at the Cancer Center, says despite his daunting diagnosis, Montgomery has upheld a positive, grateful, and faithful attitude and experienced a “phenomenal response” to treatment. The triple-combination therapy Montgomery received signals a burgeoning approach to treating advanced prostate cancer, Shin says, with recent clinical trials demonstrating the treatment’s promise in extending patients’ lives.

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For September’s Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, Montgomery reflects on his experience with prostate cancer that he was diagnosed with one year ago and the central roles that his attitude, faith, and robust support system have played in his healing journey.

Last year, Montgomery says he began experiencing stomach problems and rapidly losing weight, dropping over 50 pounds in a matter of months. He’d become weakened, emaciated, and needed a wheelchair.

“It was almost at the point that I felt like my body was just wasting away,” he says.

Steven Montgomery and his wife of 42 years, LaVoun.

He was sitting in his wheelchair in September 2022 when his doctor announced to him the diagnosis of prostate cancer — and scans showed the cancer had spread to his bones. Leaning on his strong faith, Montgomery says he prayed for guidance and chose to entrust his care at the Cancer Center, where he met his oncologist, Shin. Montgomery says he and his wife sincerely appreciated that Shin prayed with them and thoroughly explained treatment options.

“The day I walked into the Cancer Center, I just knew I was in the right place,” he says. “There was such peace there, being with the Loma Linda staff and Dr. Shin, who were friendly. I just felt comfortable there.”

Through shared decision-making, Montgomery and Shin opted for a triple combination therapy — adding chemotherapy (docetaxel) to next-generation hormonal therapy (Prednisone and Abiraterone) and androgen deprivation therapy (Leuprolide). Shin says clinical trials and studies published within the past year indicate that patients with aggressive prostate cancer that has spread or metastasized may benefit from this triple therapy.

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“We stay on top of new findings and strive to offer our patients cutting-edge therapy personalized to their specific situations," Shin says. "Mr. Montgomery's experience highlights the importance of staying current with the literature and adapting the evidence to fit the clinical picture of every unique patient you see in the clinic."

Steven Montgomery enjoying time with his grandson, Xavier.

Shin says the triple therapy proved to be the right fit for Montgomery, who responded well to the treatment while experiencing minimal side effects. Tests revealed a significant drop in Montgomery’s prostate-specific antigen (PSA) — a measure used to indicate prostate cancer — to the point that the PSA levels were undetectable. His chemotherapy regimen now complete, Montgomery continues on dual hormonal therapy.

“We’re continuing this therapy for as long as Mr. Montgomery tolerates it and as long as his PSA is controlled,” Shin says. “He’s in a good place. I'm optimistic that it will keep going well.”

Shin says he believes Montgomery's positive attitude and strong sense of faith helped him throughout treatment.

“I firmly believe that people who enter cancer therapy with a very positive attitude and a lot of faith tend to do better than people who come in with pessimism, doubts, and fears.” “He is a great example of someone who has a positive attitude and has done extremely well. I do not doubt that his positive thinking, cheerful attitude, and trust in God helped him.”

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One year since his Stage IV prostate cancer diagnosis, Montgomery says he is happily married to his wife and best friend of 42 years, feels great, and actively hosts gatherings for his large, growing family.

“The number one thing we have to do is love each other while we're here and spend time together,” he says. “I believe that's why God placed us here on this planet, to love each other, support each other, and help each other.

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Experts at Loma Linda University Health are committed to providing compassionate, comprehensive, and personalized care along every step of your prostate cancer journey. Learn more about prostate cancer screening and treatment options online or call 909-558-6600.