By Bob Marckini
Those of us who are committed to helping men with prostate cancer lost a true friend on September 15, 2021.
I met Pat Greany at a prostate cancer conference several years ago. He loved spending time anyplace where he could learn more about prostate cancer and/or connect with newly diagnosed men who were investigating treatment options. Pat (pictured with Mitzi, right) was an expert on the subject having been treated twice for the disease.
I quickly discovered that Pat was a fountain of knowledge on the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of prostate cancer. We instantly became friends and began sharing what we knew, our personal experiences, and our interest in proton therapy for localized prostate cancer. Pat’s technical education/training and his inquiring mind made him a sponge for all things prostate cancer-related, and a wonderful source of information on the latest developments in diagnostics and treatment.
Pat graduated from Fresno State College and obtained a PhD in Entomology at UC Riverside, where he was named an “Outstanding Graduate.” He also did several post doctorates at Harvard, Stanford and Penn. State. He began his career in research at what is now known as the Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology. His accomplishments and publications in the biological control of insects were many. He served as President of the Florida Entomological Society and on numerous graduate student committees at the University of Florida.
An early patient at the University of Florida Health Proton Therapy Institute (UFHPTI), Pat became enamored with the technology and found himself counseling prospective patients, fund raising, and promoting proton therapy.
Pat was always willing to share his story and offer help to those diagnosed with prostate cancer. And, since I knew Pat was a wealth of information and a technical powerhouse, I frequently asked for his help reviewing and abstracting technical literature. He always agreed, regularly wrote articles for our BOB Tales newsletter, and subsequently made himself available to anyone who desired more information on the subjects he covered.
Others recognized Pat’s intelligence, technical expertise and willingness to step in wherever he could be helpful. This included the Prostate Cancer Research Institute (PCRI) where he provided counseling to men with advanced prostate cancer. He later became a Consumer Reviewer for the Prostate Cancer Research Program (PCRP), an organization dedicated to supporting research to eradicate prostate cancer, with a focus on innovative and groundbreaking research.
Pat’s strongest interest was in finding more accurate and less invasive diagnostic procedures and treatments that might improve outcome and eliminate side effects. Most recently, Pat’s interests were in targeted biopsies and focal treatments for prostate cancer, once again, with a focus on minimizing collateral damage to non-targeted tissues.
Any time Pat could be helpful, he would always make himself available. For example, he gave freely of his time and expertise to the COMPPARE clinical trial effort.
When I completed the second edition of my book last year, I sent a copy of the manuscript to Pat and asked if he would consider writing a brief commentary to be included in the introductory section. Before he finished reading it, he called and said he’d be honored to provide an endorsement. He then wrote one of the most sincere and compelling reviews of my book, for which I will always be grateful.
Pat was a loving husband and avid reader. He loved nature, especially spending time at his cabin in the woods in North Carolina and fishing in the Gulf of Mexico. And he loved his precious dog, Mitzi, who was always at his side.
I’ll remember Pat as a smart and energetic proponent and defender of what he believed in; an educated and articulate spokesman for proton therapy; an eternal optimist, even when his health was failing – attempting to share with others whatever he learned from his own experience that could benefit them; always willing to get involved and to help; always ready to do what’s right; and always a friend.
When I recently spoke with Pat’s lovely wife, Jo, I asked her, “How do you think Pat would like to be remembered?” Without hesitation, she said, “Pat would want to be remembered as a scientist and as a friend.”