by Cissy Lacks
Dr. Bruce Seidberg was diagnosed with prostate cancer at the age of 59, almost 10 years ago.
It didn't take him long to choose radical prostatectomy as his treatment.
"I checked out alternatives to surgery but soon realized for a man my age, with a lot of years ahead of me, I wanted to make sure the cancer was gone."
"If you have a pathology report that shows cancer and can cut it out, get rid of it, why delay? If it's treatable and you have a chance to lead a life with less worry, why not do it as soon as possible?"
Just as with most men, he was afraid and he sought guidance from a prostate cancer survivor.
"That conversation lead me to Dr. Catalona," Seidberg said.
When he healed well, he became one of the patients on the "willing list" of Dr. Catalona’s patients who talk about their experiences with other men who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer.
He knows that men are concerned about the after effects of the surgery. At the time of diagnosis, this concern wasn’t his. Living a productive and healthy life was most important to him. Later, he would know that he had few side effects from the operation. Being able to talk to other men who have been diagnosed about his worries and his outcomes was something he wanted to do.
"That list is so important. I'm able to help others through the difficult times of hearing the diagnosis, making a decision about treatment, and discussing the post treatment events. It's also a good way to gain perspective on how to choose a surgeon," Seidberg said.
From being on that list and realizing how important it is for men to know about prostate cancer detection and treatment, Seidberg joined the Board of the Urological Research Foundation.
Because Seidberg has two sons, his concern about the disease goes beyond himself, his diagnosis and his successful treatment. He hopes the work of Dr. Catalona results in discoveries that make the treatment of prostate cancer less invasive.
"The URF supports Dr. Catalona and his research and education on prostate cancer. It is a most effective example of the good that can come when the practice of medicine converges with research for cures and treatment and when researchers are willing to invest their knowledge, skills and material in collaborative efforts," Seidberg said.
Seidberg was in the prime of his career as an endodontist and attorney when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer.
"The time it took me to get back to work and the time it takes someone now is a lot shorter; the radical prostatectomy procedure has improved that much," Seidberg said.
In March of this year, Dr. Seidberg was installed as President of the American College of Legal Medicine, the first dentist to hold that office.
"The ACLM is an organization of healthcare and legal professionals whose diverse education, training, and experience enable them to promote interdisciplinary cooperation and an understanding of issues where law and medicine converge," he said.
He chooses to be involved in professional organizations related to his dental career so he can be on the cutting edge of change and share the most up to date knowledge and skills with other professionals and his patients.
Still other things changed.
"Once you have cancer and you are cured, you change your priorities in life. What is important and what is trivial becomes more clear."
"Because of my personal experiences with prostate cancer, I want to apply the same commitment I have to my profession to the URF and its research mission for genetic and sibling testing," Seidberg said.