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Strong Advocate for Prostate Cancer Screening

March 2011 – Bob Washington of Florissant, Mo., comes from a long line of men with a passion for the outdoors. Like his father and brothers, he enjoys the challenge of golfing, fishing and even building log cabins. He and his male relatives have something else less pleasant in common – prostate cancer.
After losing his father and three brothers to complications from the disease, Washington knew all too well the importance of early detection. He committed to having annual physicals and prostate-specific antigen (PSA) tests. He even encouraged his sons and nephews to get cancer screenings.

In 2003, after years of negative screenings, Washington was diagnosed with an early stage of prostate cancer. “I wasn’t surprised,” he says. “I was expecting it. The question now was – what do I do?”

Washington was eager to begin treatment. Lannis Hall, MD, MPH, a radiation oncologist at the Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish St. Peters Hospital, created a treatment plan that included brachytherapy, a procedure where radioactive seed implants are placed in the prostate.

“It was unbelievably simple,” Washington says. “When it was over, I asked, is this all there is to it?” He was back to golfing and fishing just weeks after the treatment.

Washington has high praise for the staff at Siteman’s St. Peters location. He says he never had a concern they weren’t willing to address.

Today, Washington is cancer-free and living a full life with his wife and children. He continues to advocate for cancer screening among his male friends and relatives. His advice? “Do it! I know people are afraid, and they don’t want to know. It’s natural to fear. But there is no option. Get checked annually.”