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Edward Enoch: Facing Prostate Cancer During the COVID-19 Pandemic
“My entire experience with Fox Chase has been tremendous."
My name is Edward Enoch, and I am from Lansdale, Pennsylvania. I was sixty years old and two years retired when my life took a startling turn.
Like millions of other retirees, my wife Janice and I were updating our health insurance. We met with an agent who asked that I schedule a routine checkup. I thought nothing of it at the time—after all, I had no complaints about my health. However, once I received the results of my blood test, the confidence I had regarding my health started to waver.
Over the phone, the doctor told me that I had a high prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level, which could be a sign of a problem with my prostate. I decided to have another blood test done for confirmation. Sure enough, the results were consistent. I was given the name of a urologist so that I could have a prostate biopsy done. Unfortunately, that biopsy revealed prostate cancer.
Without a moment’s hesitation, I decided I would seek treatment at Fox Chase Cancer Center. In the past, Fox Chase physicians treated my father’s lung and prostate cancers as well as my sister’s breast cancer. Additionally, my other sister worked there as a hospital administrator.
I met with Dr. Alexander Kutikov, a urologic oncologist. As is typical with prostate cancer, I was offered several treatment options, including radiation and active surveillance. However, I decided to have my entire prostate removed.
Dr. Kutikov said the surgery went well, and afterward, my PSA levels and blood test results returned to normal. For about two and a half years, I enjoyed retirement and playing golf with no sign of prostate cancer.
However, I eventually had to resume treatment after I showed signs of recurrence (even though my prostate had been entirely removed).
Unsure of what to do next, Janice and I met with Dr. Kutikov again. He recommended that I begin seven weeks of radiation therapy at Fox Chase Cancer Center – Buckingham, which was only 30 minutes from my house. I was treated by Dr. Shelly Hayes, a radiation oncologist and director of the Buckingham facility.
I was about five days into my treatment when the COVID-19 pandemic started to gain momentum, prompting the shutdown of businesses and public gatherings. If I weren’t already deep into treatment, my appointments likely would have been postponed. However, I was able to continue my radiation therapy. The staff performed temperature checks and provided plenty of hand sanitizer to everyone inside the facility. Wearing a facemask was also mandated.
These added precautions didn’t make anything less convenient for me, and I always knew that I was in a very safe environment. Every day, I scheduled the earliest appointment available and got home within a couple of hours. It gave me something to do in the mornings during the early days of the pandemic.
Life in quarantine has been strange and, at times, difficult. Janice and I have two grandchildren whom we adore, so being unable to see them is tough. In addition to Zoom calls and occasionally driving by to wave hello, we visit state parks and go hiking together.
I am 66 years old now and thankfully, I completed my last radiation treatment in April. When I was first diagnosed, I was a bit shocked, but it’s something you learn to deal with and move on from. I am very fortunate that my cancer was caught during a routine checkup, and thanks to the care from my Fox Chase team, I feel the same as I did when I was 50.
Although I am a little anxious for my first blood test since receiving my radiation treatment, Dr. Hayes is confident my results will be good. I think the ability to play golf at full health again will make up for the anxiety I feel now.
My entire experience with Fox Chase has been tremendous. Dr. Kutikov is a superstar caretaker, and his assistant Lisa was also a great help and very comforting to me. Dr. Hayes was outstanding as well!
Throughout this experience, I have been able to connect with other prostate cancer patients. I discovered that I was not alone in my fight. If you or someone you know has been diagnosed, I encourage you to reach out to other survivors (regardless of how well you know them). Sit down, have a beer, and ask them some questions about their experience.