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What Happens When "Joe Construction Guy" Gets Diagnosed With Prostate Cancer?

West Chicago, April 6, 2009 – Karl Bergener, 64, of West Chicago and a self-described “Joe construction guy,” had been an electrician for 45 years.  He’d never been to a doctor.  With severe knee pain and anticipating the need for a knee replacement, he finally visited a doctor.  As part of the pre-operative blood work, Bergener’s PSA level registered a “7,” far above the preferred range of 0-4.  An elevated PSA often indicates possible cancer. He proceeded with a knee replacement and his doctor treated the elevated PSA as a possible infection.  After a period of ‘watchful waiting,’ his PSA went up a half point and his doctor recommended a transrectal biopsy, which tested positive for prostate cancer.

Bergener’s surgeon gave home a list of possible treatments including radiation, brachytherapy (radiation seed implantation) and/or surgery.  However, Bergener was very uncomfortable having any of his “plumbing” removed. His surgeon recommended he get a second opinion and referred him to nationally-known expert on brachytherapy and prostate cancer, Dr. Brian J. Moran, a radiation oncologist and the medical director of the Chicago Prostate Center. Dr. Moran (and two other doctors in his practice) reviewed his biopsy reports and recommended radiation and brachytherapy.

Over the past 20 years, brachytherapy has evolved into a preferred treatment for early stage prostate cancer because there are fewer risks, fewer side effects and shorter recovery than other treatment options.  The seeds are implanted with a needle no wider in diameter than those typically used to draw blood and are directed into the predetermined areas of the prostate. The implant does not hurt because anesthesia is given during the procedure. Patients are usually up and walking within a half hour after the procedure and go home the same day.

“There is nothing more humiliating than a man having a problem with his “plumbing,” said Bergener.  “Dr. Moran and his staff couldn’t have been more understanding and discreet. The procedure was not painful and I was back at work in a couple of days.  He treated me like his brother and he saved my life.”

“The tricky thing about prostate cancer is you never would know you have it. Initially, there are no signs — no pain, no discomfort. I now recommend that all my friends get their blood tested,”  he added.

The Chicago Prostate Center was established in 1997 with the goal of providing patients with comprehensive care focused on the treatment of prostate cancer with brachytherapy. The Chicago Prostate Center is the country’s only free-standing facility dedicated to the treatment of prostate cancer.  For more information, visit or call 630.654.2515.

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