Prostate Cancer Peer Support Volunteers
Volunteers in the Peer Support Program are a devoted group of people who provide support, comfort and practical information to those with cancer. Meet some of our volunteers, identified by first name or a nickname, who are answering your questions online.
Diagnosed with locally advanced prostate cancer in 2007 and treated with radiation and long-term hormone therapy, Ardee says his cancer journey changed his life for the better. He pursued two non-profit ventures: one to encourage exercise for folks living with serious and chronic disease, and the other to promote virtual video support groups. He is also involved in patient advocacy, both locally and nationally. Ardee's work background is in real estate, finance and economics.
When Bill was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2006, he was helped by many conversations with friends, and friends of friends who had similar cancers. He's an information-based decision maker and knows firsthand the value of peer support in making those decisions. His treatment included a radical prostatectomy and external beam radiation therapy at UCSF, and Bill, a peer support volunteer for three years, draws on his experience to help others facing the disease.
Dennis, who lives in Fresno, Calif., was diagnosed with stage III prostate cancer in November 2011 after a biopsy and decided to undergo a robotic prostatectomy at UCSF. After his six-month, post-surgery visit with his doctor, he decided to become a peer support volunteer to help answer questions that men have as they go through diagnosis, treatment and recovery from prostate cancer.
In 2006, Don was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He received hormone therapy and radiation therapy at UCSF Medical Center. He decided to become a peer support volunteer because he wanted to help others with prostate cancer understand what to expect with treatment. A peer support volunteer for nearly three years, Don enjoys helping prostate cancer patients resolve their concerns.
Jan became a peer support volunteer to help alleviate the fears that patients experience when dealing with a prostate cancer diagnosis and recovery issues. Jan, who was diagnosed in 2001, says his doctor and a good friend, who had a radical prostatectomy two months before he did, were both a big help to him. Jan enjoys giving patients the kind of insight he received when facing prostate cancer treatment and to let others know that he has survived cancer since 2001.
Joe was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1996 and chose brachytherapy after evaluating his treatment options. Before making a decision about which treatment to choose, he read literature in a hospital cancer library and consulted with specialists, including surgeons and radiation oncologists. He also talked with other patients who had undergone treatment and how they made their decision. Those helpful conversations with patients convinced him to become a peer support volunteer in the hopes he could help others as well.
Stan was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1997. He received surgery, hormone therapy and radiation therapy at UCSF. He decided to become a peer support volunteer to help make a cancer diagnosis a slightly less traumatic experience for others. As a peer support volunteer for 14 years, Stan gets satisfaction knowing that he is helping people feel better about their situation.
Terrence, who was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2005, became a peer support volunteer to help cancer patients facing complicated decisions about their course of treatment and recovery. Terrence said he was in shock when he got his diagnosis — 12 of his 12 biopsy samples tested positive for cancer and his Gleason score was 6. Terrence, who lives in Marin County, chose external beam radiation and a modified seed implant for treatment after consulting with his urologic oncologist and his primary care doctor.