Surviving Prostate Cancer through Early Diagnosis:

A Patient’s Story

Categories: Winter 2016
I have always taken control of my health and have been very active and proactive in my approach to my own health and well-being. I have always had routine physicals and monitored and documented my blood work results.
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Janet and Harvey Florian biking in South Haven, Michigan, where the entire family went on vacation during the summer.

I have always taken control of my health and have been very active and proactive in my approach to my own health and well-being. I have always had routine physicals and monitored and documented my blood work results.

Ihad my first PSA test when I was 47 years old. I had no known family history of prostate cancer. I knew of the PSA test as a diagnostic tool and thought it would be good to start monitoring my own PSA levels.

My first PSA was 0.2. It increased to 1.0 by the time I was 54. I saw a steady uphill trend so I took the initiative on my own and asked my primary care physician about it. He said that if I was concerned, we could repeat the PSA test in 6 months. A series of repeat PSA tests over the next 12 months showed that my PSA had increased from 1.3 to 2.7 – more than doubling within the year. I was 55 years old.

A biopsy was recommended and scheduled. It came back with 1 of 8 core samples having a stage T1 tumor, 0.2 cm in size. The Gleason rating was 6: 3+3. The urologist recommended removal of the prostate.

Finding Dr. Catalona

I started my research on treatment options and spoke to a colleague whose cousin was treated for prostate cancer by Dr. Catalona. He could not say enough good things about Dr. Catalona, the nerve sparing technique of which Dr. Catalona was a pioneer, and that he has performed more of these types of surgeries than anyone in the U.S. This man had a slightly more aggressive tumor than mine, but told me that he had achieved great results under Dr. Catalona’s care.

I called Dr. Catalona’s office and within an hour, he contacted me and I scheduled an appointment. He reviewed the test report and then he performed a full open radical prostatectomy on July 2, 2007. The tumor was a stage T1, but found to be a bit more aggressive than anticipated (Gleason 7: 3+4). The tumor was contained within the prostate with clear margins. I continue to have semiannual PSA tests, and all have been 0.0 readings since my surgery.

Next year will be 10 years since my prostate surgery. I firmly believe that my early and regular PSA screenings, as well as my vigilance, ultimately contributed to the successful outcome that I have attained. I had no symptoms, so this was strictly a clinically diagnosed cancer. I am thankful that I was referred to Dr. Catalona and that under his care, I have achieved great success and continue to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle.

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Harvey and Janet Florian (center) with their two daughters, sons-in-law, and granddaughters last summer.

My recommendations for other men

Early detection was the key to my successful outcome – I strongly recommend getting your PSA tested regularly, and recording and tracking your results. You have to take a proactive approach and take control of your own health monitoring. Some men may take the path of least resistance and forgo regular prostate exams and annual PSA testing – I think it is foolish to play with your future that way.

Living a healthy and active lifestyle

I like working out and feel guilty when I don’t. Fortunately, because I am on the road so much for my job, I have the time to do so. It helps to clear my head from the day’s activities and stress.

My youngest daughter is a registered dietician and she is always giving me advice and counsel about healthy eating. I have at least 3 to 4 servings of fruits and vegetables every day, and try to stay away from red meats. When I’m on the road I make sure to mix in some fish with my meals.

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Harvey at the Cook Inlet in southwest Alaska. He and his youngest daughter went on a trip to Alaska last year.


About Harvey Florian

Harvey lives in Westmont, Illinois. He retired from the federal government 8 years ago, where he spent 34 years either personally conducting or supervising a variety of procurement contract fraud cases. After about 7 weeks as a retiree, he accepted a position as a manager in the Quality and Regulatory Affairs group of a global healthcare services and products company. “It’s been a good second career for me,” he said.

The company Harvey works for employs 37,000 people in 60 countries, and is a top 25 company on the Fortune 500. He is involved in the pharmaceutical distribution side of the company, in the supply chain integrity group. He travels about 50% of the time, conducting due diligence investigations involving customer pharmacies, as well as providing customer pharmacies with information and education relative to keeping the supply chain of controlled substances safe from possible diversion and abuse. The travel is extensive, and it keeps him away from his family more than he would like, but he loves being part of, and playing a role in, protecting the chain of distribution of these substances from potential diversion.

In his spare time, Harvey likes to read about philosophy and history. When he can, he also plays a little golf.

Harvey also loves to spend time with family, especially playing and reading with his two granddaughters. He’s been married for 41 years to his wife Janet. They have two daughters, two granddaughters and another granddaughter on the way in a couple of months. Harvey said, “The relationship between grandkids and grandparents is such a special thing.”

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