Twelve Years after Cryosurgery, Grant Hollingsworth is Still Cancer-Free

Grant Hollingsworth was keenly aware about his family risk for prostate cancer. His father had been diagnosed with the disease in his 60s, successfully underwent surgery and lived until he was 91.

So when Grant’s PSA became slightly elevated in 2002, his primary care physician recommended that he see a urologist. “My PSA wasn’t abnormally high, I think it was less than one,” Grant says. “Initially, the urologist wasn’t going to do a biopsy, but because of my family history he recommended that I have one.”

The biopsy revealed that Grant—70 at the time—did have prostate cancer, but it was contained in his prostate. He was referred to Clif Vestal, M.D., at USMD Prostate Cancer—a specialist on the front lines of cryosurgery.

“He explained the procedure to me and said I was a good candidate for it because of my age,” Grant remembers.

“Cryosurgery is a minimally invasive alternative to surgi­cal and radiation treatments. It’s highly effective for men with localized prostate cancer,” Dr. Vestal explains.

Cryosurgery uses slim probes known as “cryoprobes” to deliver cycles of ex­tremely cold and warm temperatures that freeze and thaw cancer­ous cells—ultimately destroying them.

Utilizing ultrasound technology to guide the treatment, the probes are strate­gically inserted through the skin and placed in and around the prostate. The careful placement of the cryoprobes allows the surgeon to precisely target the prostate gland while minimizing damage to surrounding tissue.

With two or more cycles of cryotherapy, the prostate cancer cells are killed and no longer pose a threat to the patient. Because the procedure is minimally invasive and relatively short (treatment usually takes one to one-and-a-half hours), men experience fewer side ef­fects—including incontinence and impo­tence. They also enjoy a faster recovery. And unlike radiation therapy or radical prostatectomy, cryosurgery can be repeated if necessary.

Grant’s cryosurgery went very well.

“I had the procedure mid-morning and had dinner at home that evening,” he says. “The recovery period after cryosurgery is so much easier than with other surgeries. I did have an exterior bag for urine elimination, but that was removed 10 days after my procedure. Then I went back for follow-ups at 90 days, six months and one year after my surgery. At six months, they did a biopsy and everything was clear. That’s the last biopsy I’ve had.”

Twelve years later, Grant is still cancer-free and says he is in remarkably good health at 82. He gives a lot of credit to Dr. Vestal, who he still sees regularly for routine follow-up care even though he could see a urologist closer to his home in Grapevine.

“I have a lot of confidence in Dr. Vestal,” Grant admits. “I think it’s a privilege to have him as my doctor. I thought it would be foolish to go anywhere else since he performed my surgery and is willing to continue caring for me. It’s comforting to see the same doctor. We have a bond. He’s knowledgeable, he explains things well, and he and I have struck up a kind of friendship to boot. Plus, he’s an Aggie and I’m a UT Longhorn, so we have a little rivalry going there.”

With a PSA level of just .07, life is good for this former banker.  

“I’m in good health and feeling well, and don’t see any sense in just sitting around so I do a little pro bono work helping people in my church who have financial problems,” he says. “I counsel them and help them try to get their lives straightened out.”

Grant also talks with men who have been recently diagnosed with prostate cancer.

“Dr. Vestal knows he can send somebody to me anytime,” Grant says. “If I can help someone else diagnosed with prostate cancer, I’m glad to talk with them about my experience.”

If you’ve been diagnosed with prostate cancer and would like to know more about cryosurgery and all of your treatment options, please contact USMD Prostate Cancer Center online or 1-888-PROSTATE (1-888-776-7828).

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