Here you'll see experiences of prostate cancer patients, caregivers, and support group leaders.
Every journey is different, but PCRI has the honor of being there for each one.
In February of 1989, my FAA designated Aviation Medical Examiner (AME) first detected an abnormality on my prostate during a mandatory six-month flight physical required for all certificated Air Transport Pilots age 40 and over. I always believed in preventative maintenance for both the aircraft I flew and my own body. So when my AME suggested I might be wise to undergo a voluntary examination of my prostate, I thought it prudent to participate.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) were concerned there might be possible adverse effects from undetected prostate cancer in aircraft pilots, ships masters, train engineers, eighteen-wheeler drivers carrying freight across our highways; hence, an urgent request to physicians certificated to perform voluntary digital-rectal examinations on those patients who agreed to participate. Thus I provided an early warning that something was amiss in my prostate. My AME performed a “finger-wave” and felt a large swelling on my prostate, leading me to seek and receive early treatment
The first Prostate Cancer Research Institute meeting I attended was probably the first meeting of its kind, held in Long Beach, California. I may have missed one or two of the early annual meetings but I attended nearly all, which is no small feat considering I have been fortunate enough to live in Hawaii for the past 51 years.
The astonishing rate of research and production of new drugs and methods in the diagnoses and treatments of prostate cancer during the past thirty years has been a blessing to me and thousands of other men experiencing prostate cancer. I am among those lucky men whose diagnosis and treatment became available with the help of a very special and brilliant group of researchers and practitioners at PCRI. Thank you Prostate Cancer Research Institute, and especially Mark Scholz, M.D.
Phillip Buck Olsen
Capt.USAF (Ret), Aviator, Educator, and Writer
A Letter From A FaithFul CAREGIVER
THIS LETTER is long overdue, and words cannot even express my deepest gratitude for your organization that has provided so much help to my husband and me. When my husband was newly diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2012, it left me as a caregiver, devastated. I felt hopeless and afraid, with nowhere to turn for support. I remember so distinctly my first call to your Helpline. My anxiety was through the roof, and Silvia Cooper, who is now the most selfless woman I know, assisted me by listening and asking me some tough questions, so that she could provide the best possible resources to us.
That April of 2012, Silvia changed my life. I had nowhere to turn for support. I just wanted someone to really listen, I had so many questions. Would my husband live? If so, how long will he live? These were just some of the anxiety issues I was facing. Mrs. Cooper was there for me every step of the way. Thank you for all the valuable resources! Based upon those resources, we were able to make a wise, informed decision and choose the best treatment options for my husband.
Further, PCRI Helpline educated us as to how to use correct terminology when dealing with the urologists, oncologists, and primary physician. Being able to communicate effectively with the team of doctors made all the difference in the world. We felt like we were heard. In my humble opinion as a caregiver, I don’t think we would have received the quality level of care if we had not been educated about how treatment for this disease can have major impacts on one’s health and well-being.
All I wanted at the time was for someone to listen and care about how I was feeling as a caregiver. During this difficult time, my husband had been dealing with his own issues as it relates to this disease. But I often felt like the pressure was on me. I learned to take one day at a time and take care of myself as well. I needed to remain sane and strong through the ups and downs.
I also want to thank Bob Each for cheering my husband up. My husband’s PSA is rising again, 4 years after having a prostatectomy. To see the smile on my husband’s face after he and Bob talked was a whirl of positive energy. Bob’s spirit is positively contagious, as his sense of humor about this disease is breathtaking and refreshing. My husband now calls Bob his ‘go-to man’ for any questions he may have regarding recurrence. Thank you, Bob. My husband said: “I will always remember that guy because his sense of humor about this disease helped me look at things in a different way.” So thank you, Bob, for reducing my husband's anxiety when his PSA was starting to rise again. And of course, you reduced my level of anxiety too, which was probably higher than his.
The work that PCRI does is over and beyond our greatest expectations. As a caregiver, I feel much more confident communicating with my husband’s team of doctors and feel like I can stay on top of the current educational resources, so that my husband can receive the best quality care relating to his disease. Thank you for your time. Thank you for your continued dedication, working tirelessly to provide support to all of us caregivers and patients who are living with this disease and may feel as though there is no light at the end of the tunnel.
In closing, please know that the work that you all do at the Prostate Cancer Research Institute is not in vain, and you are making a difference in the lives of many people living with this disease.
How can I say what PCRI has meant to me without sounding like a shill? I guess I could say; "It saved my life". But that would be rather dramatic and perhaps over the top. But PCRI and the doctors and professionals I have encountered and learned from, as well as the many patients I have met at the annual conferences with whom I continue to share experience and camaraderie with, have empowered and inspired me to advocate for other men dealing with prostate cancer. PCRI has given me the tools and "know how" to manage my own disease and guide my journey. Rather than feeling like prostate cancer has stripped me of my manhood and left me to the mercy of doctors, PCRI has encouraged me to join a powerful team of physicians, researchers, and patients who are constantly expanding the treatment and management options before us. PCRI is empowerment!
Peter R. Kafka
A Loving Wife
In 2015, my husband was diagnosed with prostate cancer that had metastasized into the bone. After nine rounds of standard chemotherapy, his PSA began to rise and things were looking bleak. We then heard about the PCRI, and we attended our first convention where we met Dr. Mark Scholz. He immediately placed my husband on "advanced" treatments which has put the cancer in remission with undetectable PSA. The latest bone scan has shown amazing recovery and healing. Thanks to the PCRI, I still have my loving husband.