Patient Testimonials: Prostate Cancer Survivors
South Dakota farmer and cattleman…
and cancer survivor
Jerry Mettler, a farmer and cattleman from Canton, S.D., was just another guy who thought it wouldn't happen to him. In fact, Jerry had never considered prostate screening until 2002, when a twisted ankle landed him at the local clinic. "I was 56, but I had never had a prostate level test before. So when my doctor suggested it, I went ahead with it."
Jerry kept getting tested faithfully each year, with his wife, Diana, reminding him around his birthday. In December 2008, the PSA test came back high. Further testing and a biopsy revealed early-stage prostate cancer.
Although an aggressive type of cancer, it was caught in the early stages, making Jerry a candidate for minimally-invasive robotic surgery at Avera McKennan. No radiation or chemotherapy were needed. In this procedure, the prostate gland is removed with only a few tiny incisions. Robotic precision translates into less blood loss, less pain and a quicker recovery for patients. "I was thrilled I could get in and out so quickly," said Jerry, whose surgery was Feb. 23. In no time at all, Jerry was back attending winter cattle sales.
A tiny seed beats prostate cancer
In his annual screening, Ron Moegenburg's physician detected a high PSA level, and continued following it as it kept rising, topping out near 9. When it was determined to be cancerous in the fall of 2006, Ron had various options to consider. "My wife Cindy and I had a lengthy consultation with the doctor, who laid out all the options for us."
In his late 60s with slow-growing cancer, Ron was told that if his cancer was left untreated, he probably would "die with prostate cancer," but not "die of prostate cancer." Yet being in good health, Ron didn't want to take that chance. He opted for brachytherapy, a radioactive seed implant in the prostate. Due to his skeletal structure, doctors weren't sure they could get 100% coverage with the seed, so they also recommended a 21-day radiation treatment.
"I started my radiation in November and was still able to go on a trip to Hawaii that we had already scheduled at the end of December." When he returned home, he had the seed implant in February. "I was in and out in 45 minutes." Although Ron has experienced side effects which are reasonable to expect with radiation and the seed implant, he remains cancer free and his PSA levels are down to .045.