Sunday, May 25, 2003

Prostate cancer survivor tells all men: Get tested

Catching up

By Peggy O'Farrell
The Cincinnati Enquirer

[IMAGE] Al Dierckes Jr. was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1999.
(Brandi Stafford photo)
| ZOOM |
Ask Al Dierckes Jr. how life is these days, and you get a one-word answer.


Dierckes, who turns 65 next month, is loving life: He took early retirement from his job as a chemical engineer at Procter & Gamble; he's traveling, most recently to the United Kingdom. And he's cancer-free.

Five years after he was diagnosed with prostate cancer, there's no sign the malignancy has returned.

"My PSA (prostate-specific antigen) is so low it's undetectable," Dierckes says. "Even my grumpy urologist says that he thinks the cancer's gone."

His cancer was caught through a PSA screening; it was undetectable through a digital rectal exam.

Now Dierckes wants other men to understand the importance of getting the simple screening annually:

He regularly reminds his three sons - and anyone else who will listen - to get the blood test.

On June 21, the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Cancer Programs and Barrett Cancer Center will hold their third annual Greater Cincinnati Prostate Cancer Forum.

The daylong meeting is open to patients and their families and anyone else who wants to learn about prostate cancer.

Featured speakers include Dr. John Blasko from the Seattle Prostate Cancer Institute, who will discuss radiation seed implantation for prostate cancer; Dr. Ken Pienta, the University of Michigan, who will discuss prevention and treatment; and Dr. Ash Tewari of the Henry Ford Hospital, who will discuss robotic prostatectomy techniques.

The meeting, which begins at 8 a.m. at the Kingsgate Marriott Conference Center, is free, but pre-registration is required.

To register, call 584-9096. Registration deadline is June 13.

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