John Donahue - Patient Story

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"Although I knew cancer was a possibility, it took me by surprise."

— John Donahue

John Donahue was concerned about prostate cancer. From the time he had surgery for an enlarged prostate, John was always aware of his PSA (prostate-specific antigen) level (a protein produced by the cells of the prostate gland). Although his levels were within normal range, they were on an upward climb over a period of 3 to 4 years.

In December, 2006, John's PSA levels increased enough to cause concern. His urologist performed a biopsy which uncovered prostate cancer. "Although I knew cancer was a possibility in the future, it took me by surprise because my PSA was still within the normal range," explained John.

Before John made a decision about where to go for treatment, he spent many hours researching his options. "The more I read and talked to people who had prostate cancer, the more I felt Fox Chase Cancer Center would be the best hospital for me," said John. "In doing the research, I also decided that I would probably opt for radiation therapy instead of surgery."

"My wife, Priscilla, and I met with the radiation oncologist and we were immediately impressed with him and his staff. He spent so much time with us, explaining all of my options and answering our many questions. We knew we were in good hands," explained John.

John had recently retired from a 30-year career in the pharmaceutical industry, so he was very familiar with doctors. "In all my years on the job, this visit was the longest I've ever sat face to face with a physician," said John. "After our first visit, we decided to stay at Fox Chase for treatment. We liked the way we were treated; felt confident in my treatment plan; and were impressed with the professional manner in which the office was run. On top of that, my treatment included the latest technology, called Calypso Beacons."

Starting in February 2007, John underwent radiation treatment. For the next 8 weeks, Priscilla provided company and moral support as they drove to Fox Chase every weekday for radiation therapy.

"The radiation technician always explained what was going to happen so I would know exactly what to expect," John explained. "This was especially helpful, given the high level of anxiety associated with a cancer diagnosis. You feel better when people are up front with you. And that is exactly what happened at Fox Chase."

John and his wife found Fox Chase to be easily accessible, which was important as they were traveling from Bucks County. Although John was retired, his wife was working in the consulting field, and adjusted her schedule to work around his treatments.

"Today I can enjoy spending time with my son and daughter, as well as 3 beautiful grandchildren. It is great to be back to my normal activities," said John. Since he finished treatment, John and his wife have traveled to California, Florida, Maine, Cape Cod and Boston. He is especially grateful to his doctor, Eric Horwitz, MD, the chair of radiation oncology department.

Normal activities for John include going to the gym 3 or 4 times a week to lift weights and use the treadmill. He also enjoys photography and singing in the church choir. "...all activities I wouldn't be able to do if I did not get the proper treatment!" said John.

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