Bert Hoffman’s Recovery from Prostate Cancer at Sheba
My name is Bert (Buz) Hoffman. I was diagnosed with prostate cancer in March of 2009 and in May of that same year, underwent Robotic Radical Prostatectomy at University of Chicago to remove a Gleason 9 tumor. The surgery went well and the PSA remained undetectable for the next four years. In June 2013, the PSA began to slowly rise and in September of 2015, I entered a course of IMRT radiation for 49 sessions. The PSA continued to rise, indicating the radiation was unsuccessful.
It’s now almost two and a half years since I received treatment for prostate cancer at Sheba, and I’m pleased to report that I’m feeling fine! Other than living in the midst of the COVID pandemic, my life hasn’t really changed at all.
When I was first diagnosed, I knew that the cancer wasn’t going to kill me. I just had to cope with the effects of various cancer treatments and change my lifestyle to accommodate some of the treatments. Also, after the first prostate surgery, I was treated for kidney cancer. Now, looking back, it all just feels like a bump in the road.
I always tell friends and family that when it comes to cancer, don’t take the “wait and see” approach. Get to a good doctor as quickly as possible, because if the cancer is caught early enough there are so many treatment options available. And if you need treatment, get to Sheba as fast as you can!
Immediately after my treatment at Sheba, I had PSA (prostate-specific antigen) blood tests at three month intervals. Currently, I’m happy to be at six month intervals. While I don’t live with a fear of the cancer returning, I do feel nervous before the PSA tests. I don’t worry that I’m going to die, but that I’ll have to undergo more treatments, which disrupt my life.
The only noticeable complications that I deal with as a result of prostate cancer are sexual. All things considered, it’s not so bad! And once I remind myself that “I don’t have cancer!” any issues I encounter are nothing more than a minor inconvenience in my life.
At initial meetings with Dr. Leibowitz, when I received the results of my PET scan, she told me my medical history indicated a 50/50 chance that the cancer would return within two to four years. So from the very beginning, my expectations were set realistically. The good news is that my PSAs have been perfect for the last two and a half years, so I’ve already passed the first milestone.
How do I live with the uncertainty? I constantly remind myself that improvements and advances in cancer treatment are being achieved regularly, and if the cancer does recur – I get to come back to Sheba to get it taken care of again!