As a general surgeon, Charles “Les” Salmon, MD, was renowned in our community for his optimistic manner. Before and after founding The Doctors Clinic in 1949, he cared for thousands of patients over his half-century medical career. However, his own diagnosis of stage 4 prostate cancer in 1991 tested that optimism.
“Hearing my diagnosis gave me a long moment of pause,” he says. “But after that moment, I just became determined to beat cancer.”
Dr. Salmon knew what stage 4 prostate cancer could mean for him. Although he was in his 70s at the time—an age at which some doctors may have advised him to forgo treatment—Dr. Salmon was so physically young that his doctors encouraged him to fight it.
“Back then, survivability rates showed that everyone with that diagnosis died,” says Charles Springate, MD, of Kitsap Radiation Oncology. “But we treated him aggressively, and he defied the odds.”
His cancer treatment at Harrison Medical Center included radiation therapy and surgeries, including a prostatectomy. “It was evident that the people taking care of him genuinely cared, and that reassured the family,” says Dr. Salmon’s daughter, Linda Robinson. “In fact, because he was so calm and confident we [his family] really didn’t envision any other outcome beyond recovery.”
After completing his treatment, he was determined to make the most of this new lease on life. He enjoyed traveling with Beverly, his wife of 67 years to their winter home in Hawaii, as well as spending time with his children and grandchildren. His experience became a source of strength when his daughter, Linda, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1998. “We are forever grateful for the care we both received,” says Linda, “and that we didn’t have to travel to Seattle every day for treatment.”
The same is true today, with Harrison and The Doctors Clinic bringing the latest treatments close to home. “I felt confident about the care I received back when I had cancer, and I still feel confident in coming to Harrison for my healthcare needs today.” Dr. Salmon put his trust in Harrison once again after breaking his leg last May. Brian Wicks, MD, of the Doctors Clinic, alongside the staff at Harrison, took excellent care of him.
Now 95 years young, Les Salmon appreciates his good health more than ever. “We all do,” says Linda. “Every day is a gift of time to share with our father.”
Harrison Medical Center’s cancer program has been accredited with The American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer since 1992.