Although September — Prostate Cancer Awareness Month — has come to a close, men must remain vigilant, and that is the message of Robert Dean. When the 58-year-old had a routine PSA test for insurance purposes, he never thought he would have abnormal results. Dean was healthy and had no symptoms, but in 2010, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer.
“As a curious person, I really needed to know everything I could about the disease and treatment options to make an informed decision,” Dean says. “I travel all over the U.S. for a living, and I’m not afraid to use the phone. Between the phone and my travels, I researched and visited 20 different treatment centers, as well as talked at length with the physicians and their previous patients to learn everything I could.”
Dean’s extensive research led him to his top three concerns: cure rates, impotence and incontinence. That’s when he found John Sylvester, M.D., Board Certified Radiation Oncologist with 21st Century Oncology, located right in his backyard.
“I found Dr. Sylvester published very high cure rates with minimal complications for prostate brachytherapy,” says Dean. “I spoke with several of his patients and when I connected with Dr. Sylvester, I determined he was the most knowledgeable person on prostate cancer, and he was by far the best communicator. The decision was clear to me.”
Dean underwent External Beam Radiation Therapy, followed by prostate brachytherapy, a form of internal radiation therapy with 21st Century Oncology. In brachytherapy, tiny radioactive “seeds” the size of a grain of rice are implanted into the prostate and emit radiation to kill the cancer cells.
Now almost three years after treatment, Dean is cancer free and giving back by helping to educate other men dealing with prostate cancer.
“PSA testing saved my life, there’s no question,” Dean says. Now, the most important piece of advice I give for those diagnosed with prostate cancer is to slow down and do your homework. Talk to as many patients as you possibly can. Guys that have been through it will tell you the truth.
“I received so much help from so many guys, I wanted to help others,” Dean adds. “Every single man I spoke with gave great advice, and it’s my obligation to pass it on.”
For more information about our services, call 941-907-9053 or visit www.21cOncologySarasotaCounty.com.