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Advanced prostate cancer technology and treatment close to home eases patient’s mind

July 24, 2019

As Owner/Operator of Efficient Cleaning Company, Dale Anderson was always near a bathroom. But it got very inconvenient having to constantly use it instead of clean it.

“I tried not to let it bother me, but I was going 10 times a day,” Dale, 71, says. “And at night, I was probably getting up three times to go.”

Dale had been seeing NCH Staff Urologist Helen Ahn, M.D., for regular prostate-specific antigen (PSA) tests to examine his prostate gland cells. Based on his symptoms and family history, she decided to take a biopsy in October of 2017. Dale learned he had a very aggressive prostate cancer and opted for a prostatectomy at another hospital quite far from his Rolling Meadows home. After surgery, he thought he had closed that chapter of his life, but in November of last year, his PSA started rising again.

His surgeon recommended he see NCH Radiation Oncologist Najeeb Mohideen, M.D., a fellow of the American Society of Radiation Oncology and the American College of Radiology, and a board member and secretary for the Radiosurgery Society.

After seeing Dr. Mohideen for a consultation and discussion, Dale decided to undergo a seven-week course of radiation treatment in January.

“After prostatectomy, even though the entire prostate is removed, microscopic cells may remain within the bed of the prostate or elsewhere in the body,” explains Dr. Mohideen. “These cells can increase in number and cause a rise in the PSA, a sign that the cancer is back.”

Dale learned that NCH was the first hospital in the Tri-State area to use one of the most advanced radiation therapy delivery systems on the market – Halcyon™ – which targets tumors with accuracy, speed and comfort. NCH is just a few minutes away from his home, which made treatment very convenient.

“Nobody looks forward to radiation treatment, but NCH made it as easy as it could be,” Dale says. “If my appointment was at 10:45, they took me at 10:45.”

“Dale tolerated the radiation extremely well with no change in his urination or bowel movements during or after treatment,” Dr. Mohideen adds.

Dale is thankful that his regular checkups with PSA screenings helped detect his cancer and that he had the support of his wife Bev and son Bradley, who accompanied him to some of the treatments.

“While I was waiting, I could see what was happening to my dad on the computer screens,” Bradley says. “The technicians were very comforting and I could tell right away that my dad was being taken care of. The doctor had great energy and everyone educated us.”

NCH even gave Dale a parking pass so he could get in and out as quickly as possible.

Treatment process

Halcyon’s advanced computer software enables Dr. Mohideen and team to develop individualized treatment plans for patients. At each session, Dale rested comfortably on a bed while two technicians, one on either side, used precision equipment to properly align him for radiation that targets the area to be treated while protecting the healthy tissue.

“I could hear something, but I didn’t feel anything,” Dale recalls. “Each session was only three to five minutes.”

Dale had no nausea or ill effects, and only noted a slight difference in his stamina.

“I couldn’t do as many laps in the pool at the Wellness Center,” he says. “I was doing about 600 yards for a swim and I dropped down to about 450.”

“Some degree of fatigue is common during the course of radiation therapy,” says Dr. Mohideen, adding that it also may have been caused by an injection which was part of Dale’s hormone treatment regimen.

Dale wants to educate other patients with a prostate cancer diagnosis that radiation is not an unpleasant experience.

“It was like getting a tooth X-ray,” he says. “It just went so quickly.”

At Dale’s final treatment on March 12, he rang a bell, an NCH tradition signifying the end of cancer. Six weeks later he took a PSA test and then followed up with Dr. Mohideen. Dale recalls the comfort of his doctor’s words: “Good news, Dale. Everything is OK.” 

Grateful for expert care, right here

Dale has returned to the outdoor activities he loves, including gardening and water-skiing with his siblings over the Memorial Day weekend. He’s grateful for radiation treatment that was nothing like his father’s prostate cancer treatment in the 1970s.

“People want the best treatment, and they should know that NCH is a great source,” Dale says. “You don’t have to go downtown to get great medical care. It’s wonderful to have this hospital right in our neighborhood.” 

No case is the same; results may vary.

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