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Bob McMillanAn Opinion

By Bob McMillan
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An Alert for Men

This column is about my recurrence of prostate cancer. First, let me assure everyone that I am well – thanks to alert and excellent physicians.

My first experience with prostate cancer was back in 1996. My doctor noticed that my PSA had gone up and was concerned. I then went to a urologist who, after biopsies, determined that I had an early stage of prostate cancer. The next step was to get screens to determine whether the cancer had spread. Fortunately, it had not spread beyond my prostate.

The next decision was to decide what to do? I decided to have radioactive seeds implanted. After that procedure, I would have a PSA blood test every six months. For fourteen years, everything was fine. Then, in the summer of 2010, the PSA test showed that my PSA went up. The excellent Garden City urologist, Louis Faiella, who was monitoring my PSA told me to wait for three weeks and have another blood test done.

That test showed an even higher PSA. I needed another set of biopsies. The results were not good. The cancer had returned. Dr. Faiella determined that I should have bone, abdomen and pelvis scans. Fortunately, again, the cancer had not spread.

The next challenge I faced was to decide what to do? Dr. Faiella suggested, but left it up to me, that I should consider Cryotherapy – the freezing of the prostate’s cancer cells. After doing some personal research on the Internet, I decided to follow Dr. Faiella’s advice.

Dr. Faiella then referred me to Dr. Aaron Katz, a friend of his, who was the world’s leading Cryotheraphy surgeon. His office was located at the Columbia University Medical Center in Manhattan. Nervously, I went to see him in early August.

As Dr. Katz examined my reports, he turned to me with an expression I will never forget. “You are indeed fortunate.” By that he meant that the cancer was localized and had not spread to any other part of my body.

The surgery was then scheduled for September 20, 2010. While I was anxious about having the procedure, I was confident that I had made the right decision.

As for the surgery, it was done at New York Presbyterian Hospital, a part of the Columbia University Medical complex. The staff, nurses and facility could not have been better. My wife and I arrived at about 7:45 in the morning and were home the same day, 12 hours later.

Now, fully recovered, I look forward to my future life. My deep appreciation goes to the alert doctor who discovered the recurrence of prostate cancer and to the doctor who performed the surgery. Also, my family and friends could not have been more supportive, particularly my wife. When you consider that each year there will be over 220 thousand new cases and over 32 thousand deaths caused by prostate cancer, I am indeed fortunate.

I hope this piece will help make you more aware of how to deal with prostate cancer. Also, please do know your PSA level.

Robert McMillan Website: