Prior to being diagnosed with prostate cancer, Glenn worked in the field of radiation oncology, and had a background in treatments for prostate cancer.
During his annual physical in the early part of 2010, his internist discovered he had a PSA of 4.2 and recommended that he see a urologist. Glenn went to see a urologist that performed a biopsy and, based on his evaluation of the pathology report after the biopsy, indicated that 2 of the cores were positive for prostate cancer and a Gleason score of 6.
His immediate reaction was, “Oh s#*t, I have cancer”, and then he went online to do some research. Having worked in the field of radiation, he knew enough to know he didn’t want to go through a 30-day treatment protocol of radiation therapy. He also knew that he didn’t want surgery since his father had surgery and wore diapers the rest of his life.
He investigated Cyberknife understanding that it could be done relatively quickly- meaning in five treatments.
Next, he went to Duke University Medical Center and met with urologists who encouraged him to do active surveillance, six months later his PSA had risen to 4.8. This immediately alarmed him because of how quickly the PSA was increasing.
At this point, he got very serious about which treatment plan he wanted to pursue. A friend of his who is a radiation oncologist suggested that he consider radioactive seeds, also known as brachytherapy. So, he made an appointment, then got measured and prescreened to have seeds implanted.
Shortly after, Glenn got a call from his mother. She told him that someone they knew, a friend named Matt, just had a procedure called HIFU with Dr. Frank Tortora. Glenn immediately contacted Matt who had recently returned from Cancun, where he had received HIFU about 3 months previously. After Matt told Glenn all about HIFU he called and put his brachytherapy procedure on hold. He wanted to further research HIFU as a treatment option for him.
Glenn turned to the Internet like everyone else and found a group in Toronto, Canada that was offering HIFU for prostate cancer. He called them to learn about their procedure, and simultaneously, he met with Dr. Tortora. He explained to Dr. Tortora that was planning to go to Canada, and that is when the doctor explained that there are two different HIFU devices for prostate cancer. Not all HIFU is the same.
He left the doctor’s office knowing that he wanted to have Sonablate HIFU.
At this point, his PSA had risen to 6.8.
Dr. Tortora didn’t promote one procedure over the other. Dr. Tortora told him about surgery but he knew he didn’t want surgery.
“Dr. Tortora said that he would treat me with whatever method I decided was right for me. It was really beneficial to have a physician who could offer me a wide range of treatment options and educate me on all of them. He really could treat me with what was best for me,” said Seymour.
He was considering hormone therapy too, but when his Testosterone reached 137, he knew he had to make a treatment decision.
“Dr. Tortora put me on the phone with Lisa Nelson to help me work out the details and schedule my HIFU treatment,” said Seymour.
Glenn says that his procedure started at about 9am and he was done by 11am. By 1pm he was headed home, (back to the hotel). He had his procedure on Saturday, flew home on Sunday, and was back to work on Monday.
“My biggest concern prior to HIFU was what I watched my father go through with surgery. He would come home with his jeans all wet where he peed all over himself. And that was equal to the ED issues; I have always been active and maintaining my sex life was pretty high on my list, ” Seymour continued.
After he returned home, he grateful that he could have follow up appointments locally with his doctor.
“It was a huge comfort to know that Dr. Tortora was right there,” Seymour said.
Glenn has been happy with his HIFU experience overall. “The last time I had my PSA check it was 0.03, and I haven’t ever had an ED or continence issues. In fact, I was able to resume my sex life pretty soon after the procedure,” added Seymour.
When asked if he would recommend HIFU, he said, “Yes” as long as it was the right treatment for the person. When he was asked would he recommend Tortora, he said, “Yes, I would recommend him as a urologist regardless of the procedure that a person wants to undergo.”
Glenn acknowledges that HIFU isn’t right for every patient, but if a man talks about all the risks and benefits with his doctor and the doctor says he is a candidate for HIFU, he recommends exploring it.
The last bit of advice that Glenn offers men with prostate cancer is this, “If a physician says one procedure is the right for you and doesn’t even offer the other procedures, I strongly recommend that patient seek another opinion from a well-rounded physician.”