Our patient stories: Carlo
Carlo is 60 years old when he undergoes routine blood chemistry and is told that his PSA levels were above normal limits. The PSA (prostate-specific antigen) is a protein produced by the prostate, and present in the blood. High levels of PSA may be related to prostate inflammation or presence of benign or malignant neoplastic diseases (though, in the last few years, a heated debate has opened up on the validity and reliability of PSA as an early predictor of prostate cancer). Carlo’s family doctor prescribes further exams and at the Fatebenefratelli Hospital in Benevento Carlo is diagnosed with a medium-grade prostate carcinoma. In such cases, guidelines indicate radiation therapy as a sole treatment, and it is suggested that Carlo be referred to the new Advanced Radiotherapy Center in Mirabella Eclano: UPMC Hillman Cancer Center Villa Maria, a Center that Carlo already knows, given that – there – a friend of his had undergone radiation treatments.
Diagnosis of cancer is something that totally disrupts life and frightens and, especially, at the beginning, facing the disease is not simple. and one might feel lost and disoriented. “In addition to the high-level therapeutic techniques, great value is added by the staff,” says Carlo on his experience at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center Villa Maria. “Starting with the first phone contact, the staff provided me with any information I could need, not to mention the physicians and radiotherapy technicians that followed me throughout the treatment process, explained all the aspects of the treatment in a clear and simple fashion, made me feel totally comfortable, and showed competence and dedication”. Relying on the emotional – not only professional – closeness of the physicians and other health care providers is key in the difficult fight against cancer. Also, the vicinity of the Center to his house was an inestimable added value. Without UPMC Hillman Cancer Center Villa Maria Carlo likely would have waited a long time before starting the treatment, or traveled elsewhere, with all the problems and complications that would have occurred for him and his family. Carlo today has almost finished his treatment, and should undergo two follow-ups: the first two months after the last radiation therapy session, and continue with follow-ups every three months for the first two years, and then every six months beginning the third year. He was asked for an opinion on the treatment cycles he underwent at a UPMC Hillman Cancer Center Villa Maria and commented: “An absolutely positive experience.”