Prostate cancer patient, oncologist talk about treatment options and life after cancer

Published: Sep. 2, 2020 at 5:16 AM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - Tom Bilse was diagnosed with prostate cancer after what he calls a mostly pain-free physical. He’s now telling future patients, treatment doesn’t have to be scary either.

“They told me right off the bat that treatment didn’t hurt, which is always a good thing,” said Bilse.

After looking through several options and talking it over with his oncologist, Bilse decided on radiation therapy.

“One factor that we always think about, which is very important, is life expectancy,” said Dr. Nagy Elsayyad, a radiation oncologist at Marshfield Clinic Health System. “We don’t do that in every cancer but in prostate cancer, it’s important. If you’re 85 and your life expectancy is less than 10 years, no need for aggressive treatment for the same kind of a cancer that you would find in a 50 year old.”

“I did what’s called the short course so I took 28 treatments, and it began about the middle of April and ended the Friday before Memorial Day,” said Bilse.

Today, Bilse says he’s feeling just fine.

“I’m 60, so I’m not a kid anymore,” said Bilse. “But I can still work and have no ill effects of the prostate cancer right now.”

“After radiation therapy it barely affects the quality of your life in the great majority of patients,” said Dr. Elsayyad. “I think the most impact it has is the anxiety of your PSA or seeing your doctor and that is a huge part of the quality of anybody’s life.”

That’s why health professionals are highlighting the importance of asking questions.

“My advice always to patients is do not ever try to interpret these things on your own,” said Dr. Elsayyad. “You have to come and see us and you have to sit down and have very important to go through that counseling."

Marshfield Clinic Health System has a long list of resources on their website to help patients navigate through the cancer journey. Click here to see their site.

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