Life as an independent businessman, husband, father, grandfather, vintage car fan and occasional bird watcher kept Richard Gennerman busy and engaged.
Yet, in spite of a life bustling with activity, Richard made time for a routine prostate screening. And making time for that appointment could be the reason he continues to enjoy a full and active life today.
Richard’s journey started with a free PSA, or prostate specific antigen screening (a simple blood test for prostate cancer) that showed an elevated PSA level. That discovery resulted in a year of careful monitoring and eventually led him to Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin.
“After about a year or so, my PSA level reached a point where a biopsy was recommended. Dr. See’s name came up many times as the person I should see. Friends, family — everyone seemed to know about him,” Richard said.
William See, MD, is the chair of Urology at Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin and leads the most experienced team of prostate cancer specialists in the state. The Prostate and Urologic Cancer Program’s fellowship-trained team provides men with every treatment option available today, including robotic prostatectomy and other minimally invasive surgery options. It also offers TomoTherapy® — one of the most advanced radiation therapies. And the team offers medical and hormone therapies for men with advanced prostate cancer, in addition to clinical trial options. The team’s vast experience allows individualized treatments that provide the best possible outcomes for patients.
“Prostate cancer is not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ disease,” Dr. See said. “The key to maximizing success and minimizing side effects is individualized therapy. You want to get your care where the entire gamut of treatment options is available. Along with an experienced physician team, more choices mean better outcomes.”
“Dr. See gave me four options to review,” Richard said. “The first was to do nothing. That was not a very good option for me. Option two was seed implants.” (Seed implants, or brachytherapy is a process where radioactive “seeds” are implanted in the prostate and fight cancer for several months. This technique limits the dose received by healthy structures and patients don’t have to return for daily treatment.)
The third option was a nerve-sparing radical prostatectomy, where a surgeon keeps critical urinary and erectile nerves intact while removing the tumor in the prostate gland.
And the fourth choice was a robotic prostatectomy, which involves the surgical removal of the prostate gland using the da Vinci® robotic surgical system, an innovative, minimally invasive procedure for prostate removal.
“My wife is a retired nurse and we went over my choices together. She offered advice, but in the end it was my decision,” Richard said. “I decided to go with option three, Dr. See’s recommendation. And I’m so glad I did.”
Richard says his family had a positive approach to his diagnosis. His daughter, Linda, found information and help from a support group for adult children whose parents have been diagnosed with cancer.
“I had the surgery as soon as he could schedule me,” Richard said. “I have a plumbing business and I just changed my voice mail to let people know I wouldn’t be available for a few weeks. Even though I felt great after the surgery, I couldn’t lift anything over eight pounds, so work was out of the question for a while. If a customer had an urgent problem I was able to pass the work on to my sons-in-law, who are also in the trade.”
Richard’s post-surgical recovery was rapid. His condition required several weeks of radiation therapy that went so well he was able to work throughout his treatments.
“Not only did I breeze through the radiation without any side effects, but the team at Froedtert & the Medical College was so efficient, I was able to schedule work appointments the same mornings I had treatments. It wasn’t like other hospitals where there’s a traffic jam in the waiting rooms. Throughout the whole process, from the pre-surgical consultations, the surgery itself, follow-up visits and the entire course of radiation therapy, I never once found myself waiting for my appointment. They were always on time.”
Taking charge of his health not only led Richard to Froedtert & the Medical College, it made it possible for him to enjoy his life and his family for years to come. Today, Richard is back to doing what he loves most – spending time with his family, working and enjoying his cars!
It’s important to get regular prostate cancer screenings – and Froedtert & the Medical College make it easy to schedule a free screening appointment.
Last Review Date: July 11, 2007