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Back on the green after prostate cancer

Brachytherapy helped 80-year-old Larry quickly return to an active life after prostate cancer.

Older man treated for prostate cancer wearing a pink striped shirt holding a golf club.
Larry was back on the golf course just a day after receiving brachytherapy for prostate cancer.

Active retiree Larry Fenster, 80, is a problem-solver. Rather than feel helpless when diagnosed with prostate cancer, he did some research, right alongside his physicians.

For several years, the Manhasset, NY, resident—an avid golfer who enjoys traveling with his wife, Bonnie —watched his concentration of PSA (prostate-specific antigen) rise from a “normal” score, below 4.0 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL), all the way up to 10.

A biopsy did not, at first, show cancer, but his urologist, Robert Waldbaum, MD, at the Smith Institute for Urology, ordered parametric magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). That scan revealed a mass in Larry’s prostate, and a directed re-biopsy confirmed that he had stage 2 cancer. Dr. Waldbaum referred him to Louis Potters, MD, Northwell’s chair of radiation medicine and deputy physician-in-chief of radiation at the Cancer Institute.

That’s when Larry found out that he was a prime candidate for brachytherapy, or radioactive seed therapy, which would allow him to avoid surgery and traditional radiation therapy. Most frequently, older men and those with low-risk disease can elect active surveillance rather than initial treatment. But Dr. Potters determined that Larry’s risk of disease, coupled with his active lifestyle, meant intervention was the best approach. During the 50-minute outpatient procedure, Dr. Potters implanted radioactive seeds individually into Larry’s prostate, using an ultrasound to target them precisely.

Seed therapy has been around for 25 years, and is undergoing a resurgence. Side effects include more frequent and bothersome urination, sometimes with a mild burning sensation that usually resolves in six to 12 weeks. But each man’s experience is different, and Larry said he had few side effects.

Older couple, woman in a black shirt and man in a pink shirt.
Larry and Bonnie have a vibrant, healthy marriage after 52 years.

“I was on the golf course the next day,” he said. Two days later, he traveled to Michigan to visit his grandson and attend a football game. What’s more, after 52 years of marriage, he said he and Bonnie enjoy a healthy sex life, even after the procedure. “Talk about a blessing!”

Prior to the procedure, Larry said he was getting out of bed three or four times a night to use the bathroom. Now, he says, he hardly ever needs to get up, and his PSA level is nearly undetectable at .02 ng/mL.

“I live a normal life,” he said, citing his faith in God—and the expertise of his doctors—for returning him to cancer-free health.

Larry Fenster is back on the golf course after successful seed therapy for a mass on his prostate.
Hear from Larry about his experience with brachytherapy

Larry put 100% trust in Dr. Potters when he recommended brachytherapy—and he’s glad he did. See why he strongly recommends the treatment to anyone who’s a candidate.

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