Diligent doctor checkups & radiation seeds removed this avid golfer’s slow-growing prostate cancer
As a 62-year-old self-employed retirement and financial planner for the past 40 years, James had a lot on his plate running his own business. Visiting the doctor wasn’t always his top priority.
Thankfully, James’ wife Toni, who happens to be his business partner as well as a registered nurse, made sure he went to the doctor each year. “I owe a great deal of my health and successful prostate treatment to her,” says James.
Seven years ago, following one of those annual checkups, James’ primary care physician discovered elevated prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels. The PSA level is recognized as the single best indicator for detecting prostate cancer occurrence and severity. His level was high enough to require a visit to a specialist.
James came to Dr. Brad Bell at Urology Associates. The relationship between doctor and patient is key — especially when treating cancer. For James and Dr. Bell, this was the easy part. The two struck an instant bond with each other from the beginning, and James said he felt like he could trust Dr. Bell from the start.
For men in their 70s and 80s diagnosed with prostate cancer, it’s unlikely that the prostate cancer will be life threatening. However, each prostate cancer case comes under different circumstances and with varying patient goals, so it’s still important to assemble a treatment plan that both the patient and doctor agree on.
After his visit with Dr. Bell, James learned that the cancer was slow growing and contained within the prostate. Dr. Bell discussed the options and they decided on a treatment which utilizes radiation seeds placed internally.
Radiation seeds in, prostate cancer out
“I felt really comfortable with Dr. Bell and his strategy for treating my prostate cancer from day one,” said James. “He always explained every last detail, but also in simple terms that were easy to understand.”
In James’ treatment, radiation seeds were inserted directly into the prostate and released radio waves that killed the cancer cells but did not travel far. Treating prostate cancer this way has taken some flack in the past because of the reported incidence of side effects and loss of sexual function.* [see Author’s note]
“I didn’t experience any negative side affects,” says James. “Radiation may not be right for every man, but it certainly was for me.”
James says the procedure lasted a couple of hours and according to both him and Dr. Bell, the procedure went perfectly. “I couldn’t imagine a much easier cancer treatment,” says James. “I was out golfing later that week.”
Today, James’ PSA level is about as close to zero as it could be—a minuscule .01. James still sees Dr. Bell once a year to evaluate his PSA level, which continues to remain low.
“My recommendation is for every man to be aware of how common prostate cancer is and to treat it as quickly as possible,” says James.
*Author’s note: As of 2016, Urology Associates does not offer this treatment to patients and instead recommends CyberKnife technology for a majority of radiation treatments.