Home is Where the Care is: Finding the best prostate cancer care at Valley View in Glenwood Springs

The day before Paul Creeden of Fruita, Colo., was to celebrate his 66th birthday, he found himself in a chair at a doctor’s office where he was told he had prostate cancer. After receiving the diagnosis, Paul traveled to Denver in search of a higher level of care. Dr. Paul Maroni at CU Anschutz Urological Oncology referred Paul to Dr. Peter Rossi, board-certified radiation oncologist at Valley View’s Calaway-Young Cancer Center in Glenwood Springs.

“He told me Dr. Rossi was the very best, the top radiation oncologist in Colorado,” says Paul. Dr Rossi quickly set up a PSMA PET scan for Paul at Valley View. “That’s when the ball really started to roll, and sent me on the path to getting my cancer addressed.”

Paul and his wife, Renee, met with Dr. Rossi and reviewed the biopsy, MRI and PSMA PET scan confirming Paul had Stage 4-A prostate cancer, which had spread to the pelvic lymph nodes. Dr. Maroni and Dr. Rossi consulted after the PSMA PET scan, helping to clarify the best course of treatment for Paul’s case.

Dr. Rossi immediately started Paul on 12 months of androgen deprivation therapy. During that time Paul was also treated with image-guided, intensity-modulated External Beam Radiation Therapy (EBRT). He finished with high-dose brachytherapy (HDR), which involves inserting thin tubes into the prostate gland where radiation is passed down the tubes and into the prostate to destroy cancer cells. The source of radiation is then removed, so no radiation is left in the body.

Paul commended the entire radiation oncology staff, from scheduling through treatment, for delivering outstanding care. “My nurses, doctors and the EBRT team were so kind and compassionate, and worked their hardest to give me the best chance for a positive treatment outcome,” he said. “It felt great to get such outstanding care close to home.”

During his 10 month-long cancer treatment, Paul also worked with Integrative Therapies at Valley View, a team that offers variety of complementary, individualized treatments, provided at no cost to patients thanks to generous donors, keeping him prepared and comfortable during treatment.

“Laura Harju in nutrition provided crucial help in developing a diet that allowed me to maintain my strength during radiation,” he says. “Massage with Emma Elliot and acupuncture with Steven Shomo were useful in maintaining mind-body connectivity while relieving stress and pain. Pelvic floor therapy with Jordon McIlvain prepared me for radiation, and was especially helpful in guiding me through pitfalls during treatment.”

Paul also notes his family’s use of funds raised by the Valley View Foundation’s Rally Fund, which assists cancer patients in the cost of lodging, food and gas while they are in treatment, so they could remain closer to Valley View.

“I brought my bike with me to Glenwood, with the idea to walk or ride to my radiation treatments for as long as possible,” he says. “I kept active throughout. That would have been really difficult if I had to drive from Fruita each day. I’m keeping with Dr. Rossi’s direction to make exercise and good nutrition a part of my cancer treatment plan.”

Today Paul’s program continues with blood tests for the next five years. In March of this year blood tests had an undetectable level of PSA.

“While there is no telling what the future holds, we are certainly off to a good start, he says.” I have great confidence that we picked the right place, the right doctor and treatment,” says Paul.

“I feel so fortunate to have Dr. Rossi as my radiation oncologist,” he says. “His knowledge level and the way he relates to patients is extraordinary. He knows more than anybody, but can still relate the issues right to the patient level. Dr. Rossi is an outstanding physician. Truly the absolute best there is.”