The Story Project: Jim Burke

"Your team knows what they are doing. Trust them.”


It’s not often you are told you are the “perfect patient,” Greenfield resident Jim Burke says with a grin.
Participating in Your Treatment

Burke went through 44 radiation treatments for prostate cancer at the Mass General Cancer Center at Cooley Dickinson Hospital.

Kate Fraser, Burke’s radiation therapist, was impressed with his preparation for treatment, which required he drink 16 oz of water prior to each treatment.

“You need to be hydrated for the treatment, and I drank water on my drive to the hospital. It took 30 minutes from Greenfield to Northampton. Before I knew it, my water bottle was empty,” Burke recalled.

Now more than 15 months after his last treatment, Burke is doing well.  Living with a cancer diagnosis and having gone through treatment has given him perspective and a bit of a pulpit to share his experience.

Get All the Information You Can

“When you are told you have cancer, it can be very scary. But the thing to do is to not panic. Get all the information from your medical team. Both my urologist and radiation oncologist reassured me, and I was on board.

Your team knows what they are doing. Trust them.”

“Also, your treatment has been designed just for you,” Burke added. “Your team is there for you, and they are experts. So it is important you go through treatment from beginning to end. Go the distance!”

For people diagnosed with cancer, Burke recalls the support he received and is grateful. “Not everyone has the same diagnosis as I had, but there are all kinds of support available. He reminds people to keep a strong attitude. “It’s not easy, but avoid the ‘why me.’ You have already been diagnosed; this can create negativity, and this won’t help. You can get through it!”

Burke, who is retired from a job in business, still works part time. He enjoys singing, playing guitar and golfing in the warmer months. For anyone diagnosed with cancer who wants to talk to Burke, he is willing to listen. “I use my attitude to help others.”