After two consecutive annual tests came back with higher than normal PSA results, Fremont resident Nazir Alimohammad, 54, and his physician at Washington Hospital became concerned. They were right to be so. A biopsy came back positive for prostate cancer which had progressed to the intermediate stage. The doctor talked about surgery as an option, but Nazir was reluctant – he wanted to learn more about other options he might have. A chance meeting with a colleague led him to make an appointment with Dr. Bob Sinha at the Center for Advanced Radiotherapy and Cyberknife Radiosurgery at El Camino Hospital in Mountain View. After discussing all the treatment options with Dr. Sinha, and after many discussions with his wife, daughter and son, Nazir went ahead with brachytherapy, in which radioactive seeds are implanted in and around the prostate, followed by a course of external radiation.
“I was amazed at all the information Dr. Sinha shared with me,” says Nazir. “He took the time to go over everything, outlining all the options on a whiteboard in his office, giving the pros and cons of each. His command of both medicine and the technology made me feel very confident that I had made the right choice for me.”
Some of his South Asian colleagues and friends tried to persuade him to try the Ayurvedic approach as an alternative to surgery or radiation. “I believe in alternative treatments for certain illnesses, but in this case, no,” Nazir says. “Not when it’s cancer.”
Today, Nazir, who has been a program manager at Citrix in Santa Clara for 5 years and in the industry for 27 years, is through with the treatments. There have been some of the expected side effects, but he feels with a little more time, they will improve.
Nazir says he too has read about the recent recommendation against PSA screening for healthy men, but as a prostate cancer survivor, has some advice of his own. “I’m sharing my story so that other men won’t make the same mistake I did – waiting longer than I should have to get checked for cancer. The excellent family support, encouragement from colleagues and friends was what kept me determined to fight my cancer with courage and strength. This type of cancer can be treated if good decisions are made by the patient in a timely manner. In my opinion, if you’re over 50, don’t hesitate to get screened for PSA.”