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Harley Bradley: Two-time cancer survivor

  • Harley Bradley has recovered from prostate cancer and lymphoma

    Harley Bradley is a retired firefighter who lives with his wife Betty at their home in Belle Plaine, Minnesota. He is also a two-time cancer survivor.

    Prostate cancer, then non-Hodgkin's lymphoma

    About a week after his 65th birthday and shortly after finishing treatment for prostate cancer, Bradley was diagnosed with diffuse large b-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma of his left maxillary sinus.

    A quick cancer diagnosis

    During a routine hearing test with Craig Nystrom, MD, an ear, nose and throat doctor at St. Francis Regional Medical Center, Bradley happened to mention that sometimes when blowing his nose, blood would come out. Dr. Nystrom took a look and immediately realized that something was wrong.

    Bradley attributes his success in beating non-Hodgkin's lymphoma to the fast work and attention of Dr. Nystrom.

    Bradley was impressed with how quickly the test results came back and the diagnosis was made. Initially, it was thought that he had Stage I lymphoma, an early form of the cancer. But further testing showed that he had Stage III. The cancer was not only in his left sinus, but also an area in his back and in his stomach. Fortunately, his bone marrow was free of disease.

    Fighting non-Hodgkin's lymphoma

    As a firefighter, Bradley was used to seeing death and destruction and was trained to compartmentalize it. He had not been afraid of the prostate cancer, but things were different the second time around when diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

    This time, Bradley was not sure what to expect. He wanted to learn more about his second cancer diagnosis and tried searching the Internet.

    Overwhelmed and unsure of what information he could trust online, he decided to take Dr. Nystrom's advice and follow up with Joseph Leach, MD, medical director of St. Francis Cancer Center.

    He put his trust in Dr. Leach's hands and underwent six cycles of chemotherapy.

    The hardest part of treatment for Bradley was not feeling up to visiting with family and friends. Fortunately, Bradley responded well to chemotherapy. After his first treatment he noticed that the lump in his mouth had completely disappeared.

    Cancer changes everything

    Almost a year later, Bradley was feeling like his old self again. He enjoys chatting with friends on the golf course and spending time with his family.

    As Bradley says, "Cancer changes the way you look at everything."

    After battling cancer twice, he feels that his life is a gift and he is grateful for the support of his wife, family, and friends.

    If Bradley could depart one bit of wisdom, he says he would urge everyone to get regular check ups. Early detection is key to beating cancer.

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  • Source: St. Francis Cancer Center 2008 Annual Report
    Reviewed by: Timothy Sielaff, MD, PhD, FACS, president, Virginia Piper Cancer Institute
    First published: 08/17/2009
    Last reviewed: 08/17/2009