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Winning the Battle Together - Leo: Patient Stories
CHI Franciscan offers screening and high-tech care to help beat prostate cancer
Could you have cancer and not know it? For men, it’s common for prostate cancer to progress without any symptoms. This makes the disease more likely to advance before you know something is wrong. Fortunately, there is the PSA blood test: a screening tool that can lead to early diagnosis and treatment.
Richard Johnston, MD, PhD, urologist and robotic surgeon at Franciscan Urology Associates in Tacoma, recommends prostate screenings for men who are at risk for the disease. This includes men who are over the age of 50, those who have a family history of the disease and those who are of African American or Caribbean ancestry.
When Leo Hastings of Libby, Mont. received his prostate cancer diagnosis he traveled to Tacoma for treatment led by Dr. Johnston. Leo’s son was familiar with CHI Franciscan and wanted his dad to have the best care — and to him, that meant Dr. Johnston and the staff at Franciscan Urology Associates in Tacoma.
Feeling at ease
Navigating the process of choosing a treatment team can be daunting. Finding the right team can be a relief. “After I met Dr. Johnston I felt confident that I was in good hands,” said Leo. “He seemed to know and understand what he was talking about, and he didn’t talk around corners. He laid it out to you — I liked that. He was very knowledgeable and educated.”
Dr. Johnston explored treatment options with Leo and helped him feel at ease with his decision. “Depending on the stage of disease, prostate cancer may be treated in several ways. On many levels it is a matter of personal preference,” said Dr. Johnston.
Some prostate cancers progress so slowly that no immediate treatment is required. In such instances “active surveillance” may be warranted, meaning periodic blood tests and rectal exams are used to monitor disease progress. If the cancer is advanced or growing, other options such as radiation, hormone therapy, chemotherapy, immunotherapy or surgery may be considered. It is a very individual decision in which a person must weigh the potential outcome with the risk of side effects and impact on their preferred lifestyle.
There is a lot of information to process and decisions to be made after a cancer diagnosis. The experts at CHI Franciscan are here to answer any questions you may have, and to make sure you are informed about all of your treatment options. Our team works together to make sure you receive high-quality, compassionate care.
Cancer care is provided by CHI Franciscan and a network of expert partners including: Tacoma Radiation Oncology, Virginia Mason, Northwest Medical Specialties, TRA Medical Imaging, and the Puget Sound Institute of Pathology.