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Mark - Prostate Cancer

Mark - Prostate Cancer

Mark Yeadon, 63, is a long-time pastor at a local Lynnwood church whose life has been active and adventurous. Mark has practiced kayaking for 20 years and likes to teach novices how to get out on the water and stay safe. He’s made annual visits into the rugged and remote areas of Oaxaca, Mexico, to offer hope and encouragement to the Indigenous people of the region.  

In 2019, Mark made a 2000-mile solo motorcycle trip through Oregon and California. He loves to hunt and fish with his sons and grandkids. He’s built a state-of-the-art treehouse and enjoys hikes in the mountains with friends.

Mark and his dog Kaiser out on a kayak.

Hiking the Summit Lake trail.

But a year and a half ago, Mark was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Although he was familiar with the disease because his father had been treated for it 18 years earlier, Mark was surprised when his second biopsy showed that the cancer had grown exponentially in the year between tests, while his prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level — a protein produced by cells of the prostate gland — had actually gone down, which is unusual.

Mark asked for advice from close friends who’d had various treatments for prostate cancer. He says he soon learned that while everyone has an opinion and an experience, in the end, only you know what’s right for you.

His father had chosen proton therapy and “sailed through with flying colors,” Mark says. Since there was a proton therapy center just 10 miles from his home, he decided to check it out. His first meeting with Dr. Emily Weg took place over Zoom. “She spent 45 minutes with me and cleared up many questions that I had,” says Yeadon. “She was very helpful.”

When he began treatment at the Center, Mark connected with the people there — especially his nurse Steve and his radiation technologists. Mark’s motto in life is to give encouragement to others and make their day whenever possible. Even as he went through treatment, he spent every day thinking about improving the circumstances for those around him. “Instead of enduring treatment,” says Mark, “see how many people you yourself can encourage. Choose to be positive.” For example, on his last day, Mark brought in balloons, hats and noisemakers for staff, and they had a blast celebrating together.

Last day of proton therapy!

Mark received a lot of support from his family, church and community. They even printed T-shirts that read “We Are Not Fighting this Battle Alone,” which they sent to people across the country. He regularly posted video updates on Facebook and appreciated the support he received through comments and feedback.  

Mark shows off his t-shirt.

Mark thinks it’s essential to stay physically active. He rode his bike to treatment at least twice a week, and his friends took him out hiking. “I think being active makes you more positive,” he says. “I saw the seasons change, would take different routes. I looked forward to it.”

Mark had few to no side effects from treatment. And the one time he had a health concern over the weekend, his team had made sure he had a strategy to deal with it. “I had a phone number, the person talked with me to identify what was wrong, and they ultimately sent me to get care right away. It was the right decision, and I was so glad I had that help.”

Today, Mark is back to doing the things he wants to do: kayaking or spending time with his family, especially his six grandkids. He’s continuing his 41 years of leading services at his church. He’ll be checking in every six months to a year to make sure the cancer stays gone, but he can fit that in between trips to Oaxaca!