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Laughter Proves to be Best Medicine for Cancer Patient at the University of Chicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center at Silver Cross Hospital

New Lenox, IL (August 29, 2014) — For 69-year-old Mike Chlebek learning he had prostate cancer was not a laughing matter, but ironically his 44 radiation treatments were filled with many laughs thanks to the staff at the University of Chicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center at Silver Cross Hospital in New Lenox. 

Photo caption: Staff from the University of Chicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center at Silver Cross Hospital pose with cancer patient Mike Chlebek. Pictured from left to right in the first row  are Kathleen Meyer, RN, Radiation Oncologist; cancer patient Mike Chlebek and Rosie Damian, Radiation Therapist; and in back row from left to right are Eric Miller, Radiation Oncologist; Daniel Golden, MD, Radiation Oncologist; and Chris Stepaniak, DMP, Lead Physicist.

“I commend the excellent staff of physicians, nurses and radiation therapists at the Comprehensive Cancer Center,” said Frankfort resident Mike Chlebek. “I will be forever grateful for their professionalism, expertise and compassion while they cared for me during my ordeal. But I am most appreciative for how surprisingly the team provided me with a lot of fun moments. I’m a guy who likes to laugh and I believe laughter is a great healer. The laughs we shared sure made my nine weeks of radiation treatment go by quickly.” 

Prostate cancer remains a leading cause of death among men, but when diagnosed early, can be treatable. The prostate is a walnut-sized gland found only in men. It sits just below the bladder and surrounds the urethra, the tube that carries urine through the penis. 

Prior to his illness, Mike had no pain or bleeding indicating that a problem may be brewing. And for years, Mike had routine check-ups with his urologist Dr. Ernesto Tan, who is on staff at Silver Cross Hospital. As is routine, his prostate specific antigen (PSA) levels were monitored. Then in recent years, his PSA levels slowly rose and once the level got higher, a biopsy was performed. It was then discovered that Mike had prostate cancer. “Even though prostate cancer is often slow-growing, it is still so important for men to get screened yearly, like Mike did, so if they are diagnosed the disease is typically in an early stage,” said Dr. Tan. 

At this point, Dr. Tan suggested Mike seek treatment at the University of Chicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center at Silver Cross Hospital. When he met with Dr. Daniel Golden, Mike was impressed with his educational background and experience with radiation treatments. “I had a wonderful experience with Dr. Golden. His relaxed and upbeat personality immediately put me at ease,” said Mike. “And I felt confident with having him as my doctor due to his extensive training and experience.” 

Dr. Golden is a specialist in the use of radiation-therapy to treat cancer. State-of-the-art radiation treatment is offered on the Silver Cross Hospital campus and was used to treat Mike’s prostate cancer. 

“Mike is a fantastic example of how a sense of humor and optimistic attitude can positively influence treatment and recovery,” said Daniel W. Golden, M.D., radiation oncologist at the Comprehensive Cancer Center. “By using the most advanced TrueBeam new-generation linear accelerator treatment system, we were able to deliver precisely targeted radiation therapy to provide the best results for Mike.” 

Screenings for Prostate Cancer

“Although we catch many early prostate cancers, for many men—especially those who are older—the tumor does not progress enough to cause major problems during their lifetime,” said Dr. Golden.  “Therefore, understanding the risks and benefits of a prostate cancer screening is important for men of all ages.”  Men should discuss screening for prostate cancer with their primary care physician at age 55, unless there is a family history of prostate cancer or they are at higher risk (e.g. African American race).  These men should discuss screening with their physician at age 40. 

Comforting Advice to Others

“I would highly recommend the Comprehensive Cancer Center to cancer patients,” said Mike. “The staff of doctors, nurses, radiation therapists and receptionists - the entire team – were always reassuring and friendly. And they were very accommodating to schedule my treatments. I never had to wait or reschedule my appointments. The care was outstanding, the staff was very witty and it was all so close to my home.” 

“By coming to the Comprehensive Cancer Center, patients have access to the same advanced technology that is offered at the University of Chicago at Hyde Park in downtown Chicago,” said Dr. Golden. “We are fortunate to have highly trained and experienced nurses and radiation therapists who truly make the patients’ treatment so successful.” 

About the University of Chicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center at Silver Cross

The University of Chicago Medicine and Silver Cross Hospital’s outpatient cancer treatment center located in the Carolyn J. Czerkies Pavilion at I-355 and Route 6 (1850 Silver Cross Blvd.) in New Lenox opened its doors on June 25, 2012. The 20,000-square-foot University of Chicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center at Silver Cross brings University of Chicago academic specialists and their advanced and investigational therapies into a community-hospital setting. The facility provides state-of-the-art chemotherapy and radiation therapy, as well as access to hundreds of clinical trials. It also offers a TrueBeam new-generation linear accelerator system, which delivers precisely targeted radiation therapy to provide the best results. In addition, other services provided at the Comprehensive Cancer Center include cancer support services, hormonal therapy, immunotherapy, infusion services, and preventative screenings. The University of Chicago Medicine maintains more active clinical trials for the treatment of cancer than any other program in Illinois. To schedule an appointment, call 1-855-UCM-1400. For more information about the new University of Chicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center at Silver Cross Hospital, visit www.ucmcancer-sch.org.  

About The University of Chicago Medicine

The University of Chicago Medicine is home to world-class medical, research and teaching facilities where innovation has been a hallmark for decades. University of Chicago physician-scientists performed the first organ transplant and the first bone marrow transplant in animal models, the first successful living-donor liver transplant, the first hormone therapy for cancer and the first successful application of cancer chemotherapy. Its researchers also discovered REM sleep and were the first to describe several of the stages of sleep. Twelve of the 87 Nobel Prize winners associated with the University of Chicago have received the award for discoveries related to biology or medicine. 

The University of Chicago Medicine’s Biological Sciences Division and the Medical Center work together under the University of Chicago Medicine brand to teach and train future physicians, perform research and practice patient care. The Medical Center ranks among the best in the country in cancer treatment, digestive disorders, diabetes and endocrinology, according to U.S. News & World Report’s survey of the nation’s hospitals. The University of Chicago Medicine’s Comer Children’s Hospital also is among the nation’s leading children’s hospitals, particularly in neonatology, gastroenterology and pulmonology. And the University of Chicago’s Pritzker School of Medicine was named one of the Top 10 medical schools in the United States in U.S. News’ 2012 graduate schools survey.

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Physicians on Silver Cross Hospital’s Medical Staff have expertise in their areas of practice to meet the needs of patients seeking their care.  These physicians are independent practitioners on the Medical Staff and are not the agents or employees of Silver Cross Hospital. They treat patients based upon their independent medical judgment and they bill patients separately for their services.