DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE - CONGRESSIONALLY DIRECTED MEDICAL RESEARCH PROGRAMS
Paul Taylor

Photos and text used with permission of
Colonel (COL) Paul Taylor .

In 2012, Colonel (COL) Paul Taylor was in command of an Army reconnaissance squadron that was about to deploy to Afghanistan when he was diagnosed with metastatic prostate cancer; he was only 41 years old. At the time, he also had three young daughters, ages 11, 8, and 2. With the support of his wife, friends, and the Army, he quickly started an aggressive treatment regimen that included hormone therapy, chemotherapy, and surgery. While he was unable to deploy during his treatment, he remained in a leadership position with the Army that allowed him to continue work that benefited his unit.

"I think the ability to continue to serve while undergoing treatment was very helpful to me because I was able to slowly learn to incorporate living with cancer into my life, but it was never my sole focus."

COL Taylor began his involvement in prostate cancer advocacy by volunteering as a peer mentor for new prostate cancer patients at the MD Anderson Cancer Center. Prostate cancer affects men of all ages, but it less common in young men, creating a need for peer mentors, especially for men under age 60, where the stresses of living with cancer may impact their lives differently due to employment and family responsibilities. Since starting as a peer mentor, COL Taylor has connected with more than a dozen men.

"While I hope that I'm able to assist other men and point them in the right direction in terms of treatment options, the relationships are mutually beneficial; I have created lifelong friends, and learn as much, if not more, from them, than they get from me."

When the Army moved COL Taylor and his family to the Washington, DC area, he connected with the advocacy group ZERO, the End of Prostate Cancer, and eventually joined their Board of Directors as the Treasurer and Chair of the Finance Committee. COL Taylor and his family have since been very active, participating in DC area events for ZERO, volunteering their time and message to help promote early detection of prostate cancer and patient education. Additionally, his whole family participates in ZERO's annual Capitol Region 5K Run/Walk, which is held every year on Father's Day.

Through recommendations from friends and other patients, COL Taylor learned about the opportunity to serve as a PCRP Peer Reviewer, and served on his first panel in 2015. During the peer review panel discussions, he saw that the consumers were highly valued by the scientific reviewers, and were an important part of the review process. He also greatly appreciated the opportunity to interact with the scientific reviewers, who demonstrated "an amazing level of expertise". Through this experience, he gained great optimism about the work being funded by PCRP and the future of prostate cancer research.

"I wish every patient would get the opportunity to be a peer reviewer, simply from the aspect of learning just how much research is being done right now, with potential near term benefit."

In addition to his optimism on the future of prostate cancer research, he has maintained a positive outlook on life. With Father's Day approaching, he looks forward to the future with his family, beating prostate cancer, and continuing to work and live each day to the fullest.

Last updated Friday, June 17, 2016