DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE - CONGRESSIONALLY DIRECTED MEDICAL RESEARCH PROGRAMS

Clarence Luckett, Jr.

June, 2009, will live in infamy for Clarence Luckett, Jr. At the time, he was a 45 year old officer in the U.S. Army and approaching a command assignment which would lead to his next promotion. As part of the process for this assignment, he was required to complete a full physical with his physician. As his career was taking off, several close family members received scary health diagnoses. First, his grandmother was diagnosed with stage 4 liver cancer and passed away less than 10 days later. In addition, both his aunt and uncle received cancer diagnoses that very same month. On the day of his grandmother’s funeral, he received a phone call from his doctor saying he needed to come to receive test results in person immediately. At this appointment, he was told that his PSA level was high at 12.2, although his physician was not overly concerned about him having prostate cancer since he was so young.

After several follow-up appointments, he was ultimately diagnosed with early, intermediate risk, stage 2 prostate cancer. He was shocked to receive a cancer diagnosis, the fourth one for his family that month, but remained optimistic and began a treatment regimen that included hormonal therapy, radiotherapy, and brachytherapy. He completed his treatment in November of 2011, and has had no evidence of detectable cancer ever since. Although this is great news, he has unfortunately experienced many side effects from his cancer treatment including weight gain, rashes and hives, fatigue, frequent urination, loss of sexual desire and function, and hot flashes. As a result, he has also missed out on his military career and eventually retired in December 2012 with honors as a Lieutenant Colonel. 

During his military career, Clarence had not been familiar with prostate cancer and particularly its’ impact on African American men, who are at an increased risk, and on the military and DoD civilian populations. Following his diagnosis, he pursued advocacy work to help educate other men in his community about these risks. He joined the Georgia Prostate Cancer Coalition (GPCC) as a board member in 2014 and as a part of this involvement, participates in speaking engagements at churches and schools in the Atlanta area to ensure these men are well-informed about prostate cancer. Through this work, he was nominated by GPCC to become a consumer peer reviewer for the PCRP. 

His experience as a consumer reviewer has been a very fulfilling one where he’s been able to work with scientific reviewers to evaluate the research proposals while keeping the patients at the heart of the PCRP mission. He believes that the work funded by PCRP provides invaluable information and hopes that it will have a positive impact on the health of men in the military as well as civilian populations. Additionally, he believes that the more consumers are immersed in the research, the more their advocacy can serve the community and contribute to future advancements for prostate cancer patients. 

Last updated Tuesday, June 9, 2020