According to the American Cancer Society, prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in American men and about one in seven men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime.
Joseph Blake was the one in seven. The 67-year-old St. Louis resident, who has no history of prostate cancer in his family, was diagnosed with prostate cancer in April 2016.
Last spring, while visiting a men’s clinic, Mr. Blake was notified that his prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels were a little high. Most physicians considered PSA levels of 4.0 ng/mL and lower as normal. Joseph’s PSA level was 4.7 ng/mL.
“The doctor at the men’s clinic was concerned about my PSA level being higher than normal, so they referred me urologist Dr. Jaeger,” said Blake. “I had my appointment with him a couple of weeks later.”
During his appointment with Christopher Jaeger, M.D., urologist with SSM Health Medical Group, Mr. Blake had another PSA test taken. Though Blake’s PSA levels had lowered to 4.3 ng/mL, they still were a little higher than normal, so Dr. Jaeger recommended that a biopsy be ordered. Joseph agreed and a biopsy was performed.
“When the biopsy came back, it showed that there were some cancerous cells in the prostate,” Blake said. “Out of the 12 samples that were taken, 6 came back positive for cancer cells.”
Joseph asked what the next step was and Dr. Jaeger said that he needed to see an oncologist and referred him to Dr. David Morris at St. Louis CyberKnife. Dr. Jaeger explained that Dr. Morris would go over all the treatment options available for prostate cancer.
Mr. Blake made an appointment and met with David Morris, M.D, radiation oncologist at St. Louis CyberKnife.
While at his appointment, Dr. Morris went over the different treatment plans for treating the tumor in the prostate, including waiting and monitoring the tumor for growth, removing the prostate, or treating the prostate.
“I was interested in treating the prostate,” Mr. Blake said. “When I learned that a procedure called CyberKnife could treat the tumor in five treatments versus the standard 40 radiation treatments, I elected to go with CyberKnife for the treatment of my prostate cancer.”
Even though Blake had never heard of CyberKnife before, the shorter treatment time made it an attractive treatment option for him.
“I was interested in the new technology of CyberKnife because the treatment sessions only covered about a span of two weeks and I wanted them to go by as quickly as possible,” said Blake.
When asked about his treatment sessions, he said, “They were painless and pretty easy and quick, only lasting about an hour.” According to Joseph, “The hardest part was the prep work before the treatments.”
In addition to his CyberKnife treatments being easy, Blake said that his radiation oncologist, Dr. Morris, and the entire staff at St. Louis CyberKnife were pleasant and easy to work with. They were concerned about how he was doing and made him feel comfortable during his treatments.
After treatments, Blake said he felt fine and that the treatments didn’t interfere with his life or his daily routine.
“I’m an avid golfer and I was able to perform my normal activities without any restrictions,” Blake said. “My first treatment was on a Friday and I played in a golf tournament that evening (which I won). I can honestly say, from the first treatment to the last treatment, I pretty much felt normal.”
Today, Mr. Blake says he feels great and is enjoying life. He is happy with the decision he made to go with CyberKnife and is looking forward to his follow-up appointments.
“I would definitely recommend CyberKnife to anyone searching for treatment options for prostate cancer,” said Blake. “My CyberKnife experience was good from the beginning to the end.”