Andy Grove Prostate Cancer – What to learn from a fifteen-year survivor

You’ve heard of him; definitely I know I have: Andrew Stephen “Andy” Grove, the Hungarian American businessman and scientist, born 2 September 1936, and today one of the earliest employees of Intel Corporation who ultimately played several key leadership roles in its success. A graduate and PhD holder in chemical engineering, it might seem somewhat strange that he would take any interest in prostate cancer, but he did.

Why? Because he got diagnosed with the carcinoma some ten or fifteen years ago, that’s why. Today, his account still remains one of the most popular and sought-after stories in the United States because it is a success story that still spurs lots of attention.

In the article he wrote:
“My secretary’s face appeared in the conference room window. I could see from her look that it was the call I was expecting. I excused myself and bolted out of the room. When I stepped outside, she confirmed that my urologist was on the phone. I ran back to my office.
He came to the point immediately: “Andy, you have a tumor. It’s mainly on the right side; there’s a tiny bit on the left. It’s a moderately aggressive one.” Then, a bit of good news: “There are only slim odds that it has spread.” The whole conversation was matter-of-fact, not a whole lot different than if we had been discussing lab results determining whether I had strep throat.
But what we were talking about was not strep throat. We were talking about prostate cancer.”

And that was only the beginning of a long account that was to take him through a series of diagnostics, treatments, and further tests to determine if he had cured from the syndrome. Essentially he did a series of PSA tests and eventually ended up with the prostate biopsy. The recorded call was the oncologist giving him the results of what they had found. Even though he knew that none of the treatments work all the time, and all of them have side effects that are unpleasant or worse, like incontinence and impotence, he “decided to dust off [his] research background and go directly to [the] original literature” he had been presented by his doctors. [Andy] wrote out the first batch of titles from the bibliography in the prostate cancer book [he] had bought, and [his] wife got copies of these articles from Stanford.

In 1995 Andy Grove was diagnosed with prostate cancer and he set out to meticulously research the various treatment options and survival odds that were available to him. Eventually he underwent a then relatively new form radiation therapy that included mostly a combination of external radiation therapy and some brachytherapy. After the procedure was completed, he had to make the normal dietary and lifestyle changes, but that was almost twenty years ago.

They say there are good ten-year odds of living without a tumor relapse of prostate cancer, but this man has made it up to fifteen. He was happy with the treatment but not so happy about the slow pace of medical research so he used his case to draw attention to the matter. You might want to walk in the same shoes? For more on Andy, reach out and read his article on how he fought the carcinoma, and use it to strengthen your own resolve to fighting the disease yourself. No one ever said the malignancy totally has to be terminal.

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