Randy Hass – Prostate Cancer Patient Story
My dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer and died of a heart attack shortly after. Because of my family history, I began having my PSA levels tested annually during my pilot's physical. After nearly two decades of normal physicals, in February 2013, my PSA levels had increased significantly and I found out I had prostate cancer.
My doctor recommended aggressive treatment and gave me two options: surgery to remove my prostate and brachytherapy, a type of radiation therapy that involved the insertion of radioactive seeds into my prostate. I initially chose surgery, although I was concerned that one of the possible side effects – incontinence – would have complicated my continued career as an airline pilot. I'm also an avid cyclist and the long healing process after surgery would have affected my ability to pursue this hobby.
Before my surgery, I met with Dr. Dwight Heron at Mary Hillman Jennings Radiation Oncology at UPMC Shadyside to discuss radiosurgery. I liked that there were few side effects, the procedure was available close to my home, and I would only need five treatment sessions. After more research, I ultimately cancelled my surgery and signed onto Dr. Heron's radiosurgery clinical trial because I felt it was the best option to get me back to my regular routines quickly.
I began treatment on April 17 and completed it on April 26. My prostate cancer is currently in remission and I'm glad to have no restrictions following my treatment. There's nothing I could do before my cancer that I can't do now, including riding my bike.
I'm grateful for all of the advice and information I received. In the end, radiosurgery ended up being the best fit for me and my family. I can't say enough good things about Dr. Heron and his staff. They were all so caring and honest with me.