||Alexander also known as "Bud" remembers the day he learned his father had cancer. It was 1986, Bud was nearly 50, and his father was 74. The cancer had already advanced to stage IV, the most serious level, and had spread to his father's bones.
Bud watched the man he thought would live to be at least 90 become weaker and sicker, ultimately losing his battle. "When my father finally went to the doctor and learned he had cancer, it was too late. He was a year older than I am now. I saw how his illness affected him and our family. I vowed never to let that happen to me."
Knowing his family history put him at risk for prostate cancer, Bud scheduled a PSA test every few years. The test, which measures prostate-specific antigen (PSA), can indicate the presence of the disease. As the years passed, his PSA level slowly rose. When it reached a certain point, his doctor suggested Bud see urologist Matthew Gerstein, MD, who recommended a series of tests. "Although Bud's biopsy confirmed cancer, I was confident we'd be able to treat it," noted Dr. Gerstein.
Dr. Gerstein referred Bud to radiation oncologist Martin Hightower, MD, for a consultation. Both physicians recommended brachytherapy, or seed implant therapy. In this minimally invasive procedure, both the urologist and oncologist implant radioactive seeds, about the size of a grain of rice, into the prostate. The permanent seeds irradiate the cancer from within. "Bud was an ideal candidate for the brachytherapy," Dr. Hightower explained during the consultation. "He's relatively young and in good physical condition. His cancer was slow-growing and in the early stages."
Before starting treatment, Bud sought a second opinion. He used the second-opinion service through Grand View Hospital's partnership with Fox Chase Cancer Center to schedule an appointment there. The physician at Fox Chase recommended the same treatment as Dr. Hightower.
Understanding his options, Bud decided he could get outstanding treatment at Grand View, which was more convenient. "Coming to Grand View was an excellent decision," he said. "I had almost no pain or discomfort, and it appears the cancer is gone."
Bud, who worked 30 years in manufacturing management, is enjoying his golden years. At Brittany Pointe Estates, his retirement community, he works out in the gym and plays golf and water volleyball. He also likes to read, play the clarinet, and volunteer at Grand View.
Learn more about the Grand View Hospital Regional Cancer Program.