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Francis O., Prostate Cancer
Francis O., Prostate Cancer

Life Changing Is ... Lifesaving Treatment

Francis O., Prostate Cancer

"He said, 'We can't find cancer anywhere.' I said, 'Geez, you sure put a smile on my face.'"

After serving in the United States military, Francis embarked on a long and successful career in accounting and finance. He retired in June 2012, and three months later, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer.

Francis went through a series of radiation and chemotherapy treatments. During his treatment, he found his care was getting expensive. So, he transferred his care to the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System.

After Francis received more chemotherapy treatments, the Pittsburgh VA connected him with UPMC Hillman Cancer Center in Shadyside. There, he learned he qualified for nuclear medicine therapy that specifically targets prostate cancer cells.

The Food and Drug Administration approved the therapy, which uses an injectable radioactive drug to kill cancer, in 2018. It can be used in patients who may not be a candidate for surgery or other treatments.

In addition to his prostate cancer, Francis also had spots in other areas of his body. Before he began his nuclear medicine therapy, he needed radiation. After that, he was ready to begin his treatment with Ravi Patel, MD, at UPMC Hillman.

“I knew virtually nothing about nuclear medicine going into it," Francis says. "I'm sure I heard of it, but beyond that, I couldn't tell you a whole lot."

Francis had injections every six weeks, getting six injections in total. Afterward, he visited Dr. Patel for a follow-up.

"He came in with a big smile on his face, and I said, 'What's up, Doc?'" Francis recalls. "He says, 'We can't find cancer anywhere.'

"It was exciting. I said, 'Geez, you sure put a smile on my face.'"

In addition to his other cancer treatments, Francis also had a colostomy procedure in May 2022.

"It was an adjustment, but we're dealing with it," he says.

Now cancer-free, Francis is enjoying life. He enjoys spending time with his family, which includes his wife, children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. He plays golf often with his grandson.

Francis says he would recommend care at UPMC and the Pittsburgh VA to anyone.

“I would like to say that UPMC Shadyside and the people at the VA are some of the nicest, most gracious people I've ever met," he says. "And I mean that sincerely. I have never heard one cross word from anybody at either facility, and I've made many trips there."

At UPMC, Life Changing Medicine means caring, lifesaving treatment.

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