Philadelphia, PA (PRWEB) June 23, 2012
The best Father’s Day gift Rick Wexler got this year was experiencing the birth of his first grandchild in April. He celebrated by participating in the Fathers’ Day Gary Papa Run and raising more than $2,000 for the Urologic Consultants and Hahnemann Hospital team.
This is Wexler’s third Gary Papa Run. Three years ago he wasn’t sure he would see another Father’s Day, let alone the birth of his granddaughter. He was diagnosed with prostate cancer in September 2009. He underwent robotic surgery three days after his son’s wedding.
Wexler was healthy and in excellent physical shape when a routine exam showed a slightly elevated PSA (prostate-specific antigen) level. A follow-up exam four months later showed a higher level. At that point he was referred by his primary care physician to Urologic Consultants of Southeastern Pennsylvania for a biopsy.
“I never expected it to be positive,” Wexler says. “I was mountain biking with my brother in Colorado the day before. I had no symptoms.”
After consulting with Drs. Samuel Manfrey and Jamison Jaffe, Wexler chose to undergo robotic surgery with Dr. Jaffe, an expert on robotic and minimally invasive urologic surgery. “Even though I was 63, I expected to live to be 100,” Wexler says. “I still do. I plan to dance at my granddaughter’s wedding.”
Wexler is taking his message to the masses, and it’s paying off. This year he sent messages to former high school and college classmates in addition to relatives, professional colleagues and current friends, asking them to support his Run team. Many he hadn’t spoken with in 40 years.
“I was blown away by the response. A number had gone through a similar experience.”
In addition to raising money for prostate cancer research and treatment, Wexler was intent on increasing understanding of screening recommendations, especially for healthy men.
“I was about the healthiest guy I knew,” he says. “New recommendations from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force suggest that healthy men not be screened. If I had followed that recommendation I might not be here now. My cancer had already spread beyond the prostate gland. I was exactly the guy they said didn’t need to do this. I don’t believe for a second that I was over treated and didn’t need surgery.”
Wexler’s brother has also been diagnosed with prostate cancer. He and his doctors are watching the cancer to determine whether he needs further treatment.
“Every case is different and requires individual consideration of the type of cancer and risk factors,” says Jamison Jaffe, DO. “It’s important for all men over 50—40 if African American or with a family history of prostate cancer—to have a frank discussion with their doctor.” To raise awareness Jaffe has been captain of the Urologic Consultants and Hahnemann Hospital Run team for four years and he often speaks to church and community groups.
So how will Wexler approach this subject with his two sons and three nephews?
“I’ve told them that they are at increased risk since my brother and I both have cancer,” he says. “I know when each of them turns 40. They will hear from me!”
Urologic Consultants of Southeastern Pennsylvania includes physicians with extensive experience with prostate cancer and other urological disorders. They offer convenient office locations throughout the Philadelphia area. See http://www.UrologicConsultSEPA.com for a list of locations or call 215-762-3200.