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Cancer Is No Fun - But You Can Win

Submitted by Steve Ward - Prostate Cancer Survivor

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Steve Ward is a prostate cancer survivor. He was treated at the Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish St. Peters Hosptial.

Your journey with prostate cancer will be an experience unique to you.  Every man has his own way of coping with it. And while in many ways your experience will be unique, there will also be
many similarities with those who have also been diagnosed with prostate cancer.

This is my cancer story.

During my annual checkup, a blood test showed my PSA level to be elevated from the year before. My physician, Steven Radel, MD, referred me to a urologist.

The urologist did a second blood test that confirmed an elevated PSA level. As a result, a biopsy was scheduled. During the biopsy, 12 samples were taken from my prostate. Of the 12 samples, two were positive. One sample was of low risk, and the second sample was of intermediate risk.

My urologist said something that is now engraved in my mind:
"By no means is this a death sentence." He then said, "You should thank Dr. Radel for referring you now. Had he waited until your next check-up a year later, we would be having a completely different conversation."

Knowing the results of my biopsy was helpful. I knew I could not change the fact that I had prostate cancer. What I could change was the course of action and the outcome.

Radiation oncologist Lannis Hall, MD, and the team at the Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish St. Peters Hospital offered sympathy, patience, understanding, experience and knowledge. They truly care for each patient. You will likely find that you will become a friend there and will have many friends at Siteman.

My consultation lasted one hour and 45 minutes. I've never before had a medical team spend that much time with me. Dr. Hall explained the treatment options in detail.

The course of treatment that gave me peace was external radiation and the implanting of seeds. Your course may be similar or different. The course of treatment is ultimately your decision. I believe that with the guidance of Dr. Hall you cannot make a poor decision.

I had radiation treatments five days a week for five weeks. The technicians in the radiation room were so kind, serious and personal with their responsibility. I am now cancer-free and a cancer survivor.

Every cancer patient should expect some bumps in the road. My bumps were fatigue, incontinence and erectile disfunction. The fatigue lasted only a few months. This was also true for the incontinence. I guess that makes me an incontinence survivor. As far as the erectile dysfunction, I say thank you to the pharmaceutical companies.

You have the choice to choose your journey with cancer. You can decide that cancer is merely an obstacle that you can overcome.

Enjoy each sunrise and sunset. Enjoy family and friends. Enjoy the journey as you will make new friends. Appreciate all you have and all that is before you. Give thanks each and every day. When you inspire others, both win. This is a time in your life to win, and you will win.