September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month
WATCH: THE ROAD TO RECOVERY from prostate cancer has been tough but not impossible for Dave Goldschlag, who is now a Senior Video Production Specialist with Health First. Goldschlag credits Health First’s hardworking and caring healthcare providers for helping him to now live life fully. (Health First image)
A patient-turned-advocate shares his cancer survivor story to help others to take control of prostate health.
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – It takes less than five minutes of speaking with Dave Goldschlag to quickly feel his passion and advocacy during September’s Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. However, his greater devotion in life is his newlywed wife, Gail, who took every wedding vow to heart – especially “in sickness and in health.”
“She’s my soulmate and told me she needs to keep me around for a little while longer so we can enjoy life together,” said Dave. “My wife encouraged me to get a check-up since I hadn’t had a physical in a few years.”
Thinking of himself and now his new wife, Dave didn’t hesitate to schedule an appointment and soon after went for a routine blood test. The couple had no idea their honeymoon phase would quickly turn into havoc the very next day.
“I will never forget the exact moment when my doctor called and said my prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels are higher than he would like to see them,” Dave said. “The first word that could come to mind was cancer, but I didn’t want to overthink or worry until further testing was done.”
Prostate-specific antigen, or PSA, is a protein produced by normal, as well as malignant, cells of the prostate gland, according to the National Cancer Institute. The PSA test measures the level of PSA in the blood, which is a key step in detecting prostate cancer early.
Unfortunately, Dave didn’t have to wait much longer. He soon went for a biopsy test, which came back positive for prostate cancer.
“Being diagnosed with prostate cancer is scary, and it’s the scariest thing I’ve ever dealt with in my life,” Dave said.
“And I’ve been a firefighter, emergency medical technician (EMT), U.S. Army combat medic, and a photojournalist for more than 30 years – but this scared me the most.”
Two-Step Process to Recovery
The road to recovery was a two-step process – the first is overcoming shock, and the second is seeking a trusted, highly-skilled specialist to map out treatment options. He found that in Health First Medical Group’s Dr. Bhavana Chapman.
“It was crucial to help figure out the next steps and what type of treatment options best suited Dave’s healthcare journey,” said Dr. Chapman, who is Dave’s radiation oncologist. “Fortunately, his cancer was in the early stage of prostate cancer, which had not spread and was very curable.”
For Dave, his form of curable treatment options was radiation, which he bravely endured for almost two months. Every day was a challenge during this time for us all, as we battled COVID-19. But for Dave, it was COVID-19 and cancer.
However, at the time, he was still working as a TV news photojournalist, which can be a stressful and draining job on any given day. That didn’t stop him, though, as he maintained hope and remembered his new inspiration, Gail.
“It’s vital that we build solid and positive relationships with our patients during their cancer journey to help encourage and motivate them as much as possible,” Dr. Chapman said.
“I highly encourage everyone to take the necessary steps, such as early screening detection when it comes to improving our overall health and wellness.”
The road to recovery has been tough but not impossible. Dave, who is now a Senior Video Production Specialist with Health First, truly credits our hardworking and caring healthcare providers for helping him to now live life fully.
It’s something the couple are taking full advantage of as they enjoy spending time together with family and friends.
All it took was a little guidance, a step in the right direction, and now encouraging others to take control when it comes to prostate health.
“At the end of the day, your physical is not just for yourself, but also for the ones you love,” Dave said.
Visit HF.org/cancer to learn more information about how the Health First Cancer Institute offers expert diagnoses and treatment options for your overall health and wellness.
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