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Jim Wilhelmsen was first diagnosed with prostate cancer in February of 2013. His initial reaction was an overwhelming sense of fear and shock, but he knew that he needed to take action quickly and opted to have surgery. Unfortunately, for numerous reasons, his first treatment experience was a negative one that led him to pursue a second opinion, which ultimately moved his care to Houston, Texas. This move proved to be a good decision and resulted in improved clinical outcomes for him. His negative experience with the first medical provider inspired Mr. Wilhelmsen to get involved with prostate cancer advocacy groups in an effort to prevent other men and their families from going through what he went through.
Mr. Wilhelmsen and his wife are currently active members of the advocacy group ZERO – The End of Prostate Cancer, where they participate in sporting events and ZERO’s run/walk events to raise prostate cancer awareness. Additionally, they both travel to Washington, DC every year to attend the Zero Summit, where they have the opportunity to talk to Congress to encourage them to continue supporting funding for prostate cancer research. It was at the Zero Summit that Mr. Wilhelmsen first learned about CDMRP and opportunities to become a consumer peer reviewer for the PCRP, and he served on his first panel in 2015.
In describing his experience on the panel, Mr. Wilhelmsen noted it was daunting at first, but as he learned the process he found it “very engaging and helpful to my understanding of prostate cancer”. He felt that his personal experiences as a prostate cancer survivor helped bring a new perspective to the panel to better assess the risk and benefits of new treatments being developed. Additionally, through his interactions with patients and caregivers at all stages of disease and treatment, he feels that he represents the entire community of prostate cancer patients and has their best interest in mind in the peer review process. Participating on the panel also gave him a respect for the professionals in the medical field that are working hard on new treatments for prostate cancer and to ease treatment side effects to improve the quality of life for prostate cancer survivors. Mr. Wilhelmsen states this process has given him “new hope for the future for my sons and grandsons that there may be a cure on the horizon”.
Mr. Wilhelmsen strongly believes that prostate cancer research is imperative for the future well-being of men and their families. “There has been so much new information and understanding just in the three and a half years that I have been dealing with the cancer that would not be available without research” he says, “With the understanding I have now, I may have made a few decisions differently, and I certainly advise my sons and grandsons with a new perspective.”
Last updated Thursday, May 26, 2022