Prostate Cancer Patient Story: Robert Beal
World Traveler Gets Help With Cancer Journey
At an age when many people are “slowing down,” Robert Beal is in constant motion. He runs his own company, plays squash and travels the world. (At last count, he has visited more than 70 countries, including Belgium, India, Ireland and Morocco.) When Beal visited his doctor for a routine physical in 2008, he expected it to be, well, routine.
Instead, he learned he had an elevated prostate specific antigen, or PSA, level. (A PSA test is a simple blood test that screens for prostate cancer.) “It was totally out of the blue,” Beal said.
Because a PSA test cannot diagnosis cancer, his family physician referred Beal to a local urologist, who performed a biopsy. Beal, who has no family history of cancer, was confident. But just days after the biopsy, he learned he had a fairly aggressive type of prostate cancer.
Beal decided to get a second opinion before deciding on a course of treatment. A friend recommended the Prostate and Urologic Cancer Program at Froedtert & the Medical College.
Patients like Beal, who want access to an expert opinion before making decisions, often seek second opinions. The prostate and urologic cancer physicians at Froedtert & the Medical College are specialists with extremely focused areas of expertise. That unparalleled expertise means patients who consult the Prostate and Urologic Cancer Program can be sure they’re receiving the most current treatment options available for their cancer.
When Beal called the Froedtert & the Medical College Clinical Cancer Center, he was connected with Stacy Schroeter, new patient coordinator for the Prostate and Urologic Cancer Program. She helped Beal obtain appropriate medical records and scheduled him for appointments with William A. See, MD, Medical College of Wisconsin urologic surgeon and Colleen Lawton, MD, Medical College of Wisconsin radiation oncologist, both of whom specialize in prostate and other urologic cancers.
Heidi Stark, RN, BSN, OCN, a nurse coordinator for the program, was another important initial connection for Beal. She provides support, answers questions and guides patients and families through every step of the cancer journey.
“I help patients get the expert care they need,” Stark said.
Because prostate cancer can be treated with a variety of modalities, including surgery, radiation and medical options (drugs, hormone therapy), selecting a treatment method can overwhelm patients and families. Appropriate treatment varies from patient to patient and minimizing side effects while effectively treating the cancer requires a delicate balance.
Thankfully, Beal’s cancer was caught early and was confined to the prostate gland. Drs. Lawton and See, Beal said, decided he would be a good candidate for a radical prostatectomy, as opposed to radiation alone.
Beal had his prostate gland surgically removed at Froedtert & the Medical College in March 2008. His post-surgical recovery was uncomplicated, and Beal went home shortly thereafter. (At Froedtert & the Medical College, quality data shows the average time from check-in for ambulatory surgery – open prostatectomy – to discharge from the hospital is 45 hours.)
Today, Beal is cancer-free. He returns to Froedtert & the Medical College for follow-up visits and recommends the Prostate and Urologic Cancer Program to his friends. “I just told a friend, ‘You’ve really got to get out to Froedtert,’” Beal said. “I will be forever grateful for all that Froedtert & the Medical College did for me.”
Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin Clinical Cancer Center
The Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin Clinical Cancer Center offers comprehensive care in one location. Each specialized cancer program includes a complete team of physician experts who focus on a particular form of cancer or group of related cancers. For patients, the benefits are completely coordinated treatment and the most advanced care available. Learn more about our disease-specific cancer programs or to make an appointment, call 866-680-0505.