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Cancer Treatment Centers of America

Ralph Tripp

Prostate cancer - Stage II

This testimonial includes a description of this patient’s actual medical results. Those results may not be typical or expected for the particular disease type described in this testimonial. You should not expect to experience these results.

View CTCA treatment results for prostate cancer


My story

Refusing surgery

In 2004, when I was 67 years old, my doctor noticed that my PSA (prostate-specific antigen) score, which can sometimes be an indicator of prostate cancer, was rising a little faster than normal. He referred me to a urologist, who also checked my PSA. Six weeks later, he checked it again, and it was continuing to increase steadily. A biopsy showed two of 12 samples positive for cancer.

The urologist I saw was a surgeon, and surgery was his first suggestion upon diagnosing me with stage II prostate cancer. The other option he mentioned was a permanent implant of radiation seeds. Neither option appealed to me. He noted that the cancer was slow growing, so there was no hurry for me to decide right away. So I decided to do my research.

Finding options

I did quite a bit of research online, and became interested in high-dose rate brachytherapy. After reading as much as I could, I called the toll-free number for Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA). It was 11 p.m. when I called, so I was expecting to leave a voicemail message. To my surprise, someone answered. Her attitude and manner of speaking were appealing right from the start. She told me about the facility in Zion, Illinois, which is not too far from my home.

When I first called CTCA®, I was already scheduled to have a physical the next week. I figured I’d wait until that was complete and then go to CTCA. But the representative I’d spoken to that night called me the very next morning and scheduled an appointment for an initial evaluation. During that consultation, my oncologist recommended an approach called intensity modulated radiation therapy, or IMRT. I decided to go with that option.

Easy going

I received radiation therapy for five days a week for eight weeks. Each day, I traveled from home to have the treatment first thing in the morning. Fortunately, the side effects were minor. I met with a registered dietitian and a naturopathic oncology provider, who each recommended foods and supplements to help my body cope with the treatment. I continue to meet with them from time to time.

As happy as I was with the treatment itself, I was equally thankful for the approach taken by everyone at CTCA. The care there is compassionate. That compassion comes from not only the doctors and nurses but also from the entire staff. The whole hospital environment revolves around compassionate care.

Today, I continue to feel and do well. I enjoy home maintenance projects, and recently redecorated my living room and two bedrooms, including new windows and hardwood floors. After my treatment, I became very interested in radiology and have been taking courses through the American Society of Radiologic Technologists. I also attended the annual convention of the Radiologic Society of North America and took several courses they offered to members. I’ve made some lasting friendships from the time I’ve spent at CTCA. For the past several years, I have helped out in the annual five-year Celebrate Life® event at CTCA at Midwestern Regional Medical Center. During the event, I quite often run across patients I have met during their course of treatment. It is a rewarding experience for both me and the patients.

Joining the network

The Cancer Fighters® team went out of its way to involve me in various activities. I now volunteer regularly at the hospital, and I am glad for the opportunity to do something positive for others going through a similar situation. I also became part of the Cancer Fighters Care Net team. In this capacity, I get to talk with new patients and quite often meet with them when they arrive at CTCA. When talking with a new patient, I emphasize the importance of proper nutrition and diet as well as a healthy lifestyle

My experience showed me how important it is to find out as much as you can about your diagnosis. Sometimes people don’t like to talk about medical issues. Men can sometimes have a hard time with this, but with prostate cancer it’s vital to talk about what’s going on. I always encourage people to explore all options and get a second opinion. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. And if you learn something valuable, make sure to pass it on to someone else who might need to hear it Education can be a key factor in a positive outcome.