Early detection is not just an option, it is a lifesaver. The work the AdMeTech Foundation has done over the past several years has been absolutely critical in promoting early detection and research. Dr. Faina Shtern should be commended for her work.
(In early 2007, at the age of 53) I noted a marked increase in PSA.. I have family history; my father contracted prostate cancer in his mid 70s. I had standard biopsy at one of the leading New York Hospitals, which was negative. In February 2008, my PSA test showed a significant increase from December… (but) my NY based urologist discounted the result… Not satisfied with this recommendation, I pursued an MRI guided biopsy. This is the approach being advocated by our client, AdMeTech, which wants a “Man-o-gram” as standard diagnostic instead of blind biopsy, based on the success of mammograms in detecting breast cancer. In mid July, I received the dreaded call, confirming that I had low grade, early stage prostate cancer… now the question was what to do about it. It took me a few days to process the diagnosis as I am an excessively healthy guy. I work out six days a week, never smoked, rarely if ever drink and eat only nutritious food. So Superman has holes in his cape! (In September 2008), recovering from a radical prostatectomy… I have been assured by my physician that my prostate cancer has been completely eliminated and that I should be able to get on with my life without adverse consequences…. What have I learned? …Most important, find a doctor who can guide you… In my case, I had the charismatic and passionate Dr. Faina Shtern, at AdMeTech, who opened doors for me then sorted through often conflicting medical advice… (She) is committed to educating doctors and men like me about the critical role of advanced diagnostic imaging such as MRI in the early detection and minimally invasive treatment of prostate cancer… I admire her tireless pursuit of further development of the “man-o-gram” and related increase of US Government and private funding for public education and research.
I am an active member of US Too International because I am a prostate cancer warrior.
I asked question, ‘do you know where the cancer is,’ and they said no, but this is the best that we can do is to try to radiate that area hoping we get it. Well, they didn’t get it. The surgeon who removed my prostate gland had no idea where the cancer was in my gland other then it was in there so they removed the whole gland. Following my radical prostatectomy, my PSA did not go down significantly so the physician said we need to try another treatment with you and the only other treatment was radiation. They decided to do a salvage radiation of the prostate bed. I asked the question, do you know where the cancer is and they said no. I am hoping we’ll see some technology that will pin point where the cancer is and then we can have have some targeted or directed therapy to the cancer itself.
Dr. Shtern. Thank you for your dedication and support. Together we can get so much more done. Still waiting for our Man-O-Gram.
AdMeTech’s years of work to secure data for better prostate imaging is one of the most dedicated efforts in prostate cancer that I’ve seen. This work will help men immensely – both in better diagnostics, and better treatment choices.
I have several male relatives who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer and I want to be vigilant about my own health. In April 2013, I went to see my primary care physician for a routine physical and my PSA was higher than previous years, so my physician referred me to a local urologist. The urologist scheduled me for a biopsy, which I declined, so I could obtain a second opinion.
I began to research treatments for elevated PSA and prostate biopsies online. I also wanted to get a referral to a urologic specialist who had more experience with African American patients. I began to make inquiries for advice and one of the gentlemen I spoke with was the chief of staff to Massachusetts House of Representatives Russell Holmes. Representative Holmes recommended that I consult Dr. Faina Shtern of AdMeTech Foundation. Dr. Shtern called me and interviewed me over the phone and explained my options. That’s how I learned about the standard “blind biopsy” which is a random sampling (12) of the prostate gland using only the Ultrasound. The colloquial term is “Poke and Hope”… an ultrasound biopsy that could result in an erroneously negative biopsy. Dr. Shtern suggested I look into the clinical trials of prostate MRI with leading doctors at the National Cancer Institute (NCI).
MRI and MRI-guided biopsy diagnoses prostate cancer early and can identify dormant cancer cells as well. This much more comprehensive method of detecting cancer gives the patient confidence of the presence and stage of any cancerous cells in the prostate gland.
Consequently, I chose to pursue active surveillance (periodic blood and urine testing) instead of more intrusive treatments, like radical prostatectomy (where the entire prostate gland is removed by surgery).
Accurate diagnostic information made it possible for me to make a fully informed and shared decision with my doctors to choose an optimal, minimally invasive health care option and to avoid unnecessary treatment, which may have caused life-altering complications, like incontinence and more importantly, impotence. My introduction to Dr. Shtern and AdMeTech was invaluable for me to be able to participate in a clinical trial, at the National Institute of Health (NIH) facility, National Cancer Institute (NCI), located in Bethesda, MD. I strongly encourage more African American men (who are more at risk than any other demographic group) to learn more about AdMeTech’s work in research, education and awareness of prostate cancer. All men, but especially men of African American heritage, need to understand the importance of full information about health care options, including the participation in clinical trials under the supervision and care of the world’s best doctors, who utilize the most technologically advanced diagnosis and treatments.
I’m lucky to be alive and looking forward to many more sunrises and summer days at the beach. It was only by lucky accident that a life insurance exam 18 months ago raised concern about my high PSA score – they tripled my policy price! My internist had not bothered to remark anything about my rising PSAs over four years, despite my telling him my number one health concern was the numerous cancer deaths in my mother’s family. He assured me that their ovarian and breast cancers meant nothing for me. I was blissfully unaware of the details of PSA scores and had no idea that a 7.2 was cause for concern.
As soon as it was clear something might be wrong, my wife and I reached out to our good friend Dr. Fay Shtern, President of AdMeTech who arranged for definitive tests, including MRI, at NIH, where they found a huge aggressive tumor needing immediate treatment. Fay put us in contact with the best doctors at Dana Farber to work out treatment plans. Lucky again, there was no metastases and subsequent radiation treatment seems likely to have cured me, but at a cost to the healthcare system well over $600,000 and quite a lot of life disruption and daily quality of life issues for me and my family.
There is no way my case should have wound up as it did, let alone in such an advanced healthcare environment as Boston. The most common prostate cancer detection approaches today are woefully inadequate and fall far short of what is easily available and affordable.
My best high school friend’s husband will die from his prostate cancer in the next twelve months. They are brave about the lot he has drawn, but I can’t help but think his life might well have been saved with earlier detection. The much-improved detection techniques that Fay is working so hard to make the standard care deserves all of our support.
I am 63 years old, and my PSA had recently become abnormal. I was referred to urologist who performed biopsy and diagnosed prostate cancer. My physicians strongly recommended radical surgery, and I shared my story and concerns with my friends, including Terry Murray, Massachusetts State Senate President and Cheryl Bartlett, Commissioner of the Department of Public Health. Terry and Cheryl asked me not to do anything until I consulted Dr. Faina Shtern of AdMeTech Foundation. Upon hearing my story and my diagnostic evaluation, Dr. Shtern explained that based on standard diagnostics, I had a “clinically benign disease” where surgery may be worse than cancer. She also recommended that to be on a safe slide, I consider participation in a clinical trial in prostate MRI at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), since MRI may be more accurate than the current “blind” biopsies, which fail to analyze most of the prostate.
I had followed Dr. Shtern’s recommendation, and it took about 3 months to obtain an appointment at NCI. During that waiting period, I had received repeated strong recommendations from my urologist and other physicians to undergo radical surgery. I had again reached out to Dr. Shtern and was advised to wait for MRI in order to make further decisions, and I followed her recommendation. Upon review of my MRI at NCI, Dr. Peter Pinto, a well-known urologist, recommended not only against radical surgery, but also against even biopsy. He suggested an active surveillance instead with careful monitoring of PSA and MRI.
I was immensely relieved and happy that I was spared any further invasive procedures, with all the potential complications. I am grateful to and committed to support AdMeTech Foundation’s work in prostate cancer awareness and education so that every man will have access to the most advanced options in patient care and research in order to make make fully informed choices.
I was diagnosed with prostate cancer in the early winter of 2012. I had been checking my PSA regularly for many years with no sign of abnormality, I had a living donor kidney transplant in 2003, requiring me to suppress my immune system daily, probably making me more susceptible to cancer. I had also done some consulting work for an extraordinary organization, The AdMeTech Foundation, a group devoted to providing advanced imaging for early detection of prostate cancer, giving men tools similar to mammograms that have helped so many women. Through AdMeTech, I became knowledgeable about the importance of imaging for detection and the dangers of indiscriminate and unguided biopsy. Armed with this knowledge but facing an elevated PSA, I proceeded with an MRI followed by a guided biopsy to evaluate exactly where the cancer existed and how advanced it was. In my case, surgery or radiation was indicated, especially because of my unusual circumstance being a transplant patient with compromised immunity. I had successful surgery to remove my prostate in early 2013. I encourage all men to check their PSA regularly, and to support the development of advanced imaging techniques to simply and effectively detect and defeat prostate cancer.
Imaging has great possibilities. One, to be able to detect cancer. But once a biopsy demonstrates there is cancer present, we still need to know how extensive that cancer is. That’s where imaging plays it’s most important role. We can see the cancer, we can see the extent of the cancer and based on that, we can begin to make decisions on treatment.