Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center

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Ken Silveira, Prostate Cancer

Ken Silveira

"Sylvester offered me state-of-the-art treatment — treatment that was out of the box."

Groundbreaking Treatment ‘Changed Life to the Positive’

Ken Silveira recently had received a clean bill of health, so he wasn’t worried when scheduling a physician appointment to renew prescriptions.

However, routine blood work, including a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test, discovered an elevated PSA level and raised concern. Shortly after, a biopsy delivered bad news—Ken had an aggressive type of prostate cancer.

“I had a slower, limited flow, but didn’t think much of it,” says Ken, who was surprised by the diagnosis. For treatment, his urologist recommended a radical prostatectomy, surgery to remove the prostate gland. Ken went through with it. Although he was back at work just nine days after surgery, a follow-up PSA test showed the cancer had not been eliminated.

To assess his options, Ken’s niece, a registered nurse, suggested he see Alan Pollack, M.D., Ph.D., chairman of Radiation Oncology at the Miller School of Medicine.

Dr. Pollack is using groundbreaking technology to treat prostate cancer: the Calypso® 4D Localization System™, which accurately delivers radiation to prostate cancer tumors. Sylvester was the first in the region to offer this advanced “GPS for the Body®” technology.

“It allows us to track the tumor in real time,” explains Dr. Pollack. “This is the only true real-time tracking system available.” The radiation can be delivered precisely, without damaging surrounding organs and tissues.

“Sylvester offered me state-of-the-art treatment. They offered treatment that was out of the box.” Ken’s case was unique because his prostate had been removed. Instead of implanting the beacons in the prostate, Dr. Pollack positioned them alongside his bladder, where his prostate had been located. Ken underwent 34 treatments—five weekly—each lasting about five minutes. The side effects were minimal.

“It’s such now with the new technologies that people shouldn’t have to worry about ‘Oh, I’m going to die tomorrow’ or ‘I’m terminal’ and what not. That’s immaterial. Live every day for today,” Ken adds.

Ken says the cancer was actually a blessing in disguise. Since being diagnosed, his relationships with his friends and family have grown stronger. He has a whole new appreciation for life.

“It’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me this cancer. It’s changed my life to the positive like you would not believe.”

Now, Ken visits Sylvester every three months for follow-up checkups, and has come to see it as a home away from home. “They treated me like I was family, in fact, we became like family,” Ken says.

Anyone who is newly diagnosed with cancer should do their homework, consult with family to find the “best of the best” for treatment, Ken says, and above all, stay positive.

“The first thing I would tell anyone who is diagnosed with cancer is it’s not the end of the world—it’s the beginning of the rest of your life,” he says. “I look at it as an opportunity to reflect on your life, see what’s really important in your life, and go forward.”

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