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Spreading the word

Ron Poole’s life is back to normal after successful treatment at the University’s Institute for Prostate and Urologic Cancers. (Photo: Tim Rummelhoff)

Former patient gives back after a good experience at the U’s Institute for Prostate and Urologic Cancers

When Ron Poole talks about the Institute for Prostate and Urologic Cancers (IPUC), formerly known as the Center for Prostate Cancer, he can’t help but showcase the skills that have made him a successful investment counselor. He’s eager to pitch the University of Minnesota center and its mission. But just as he would pick a stock or business venture, he supported the IPUC only after careful research.

His research began in 2006, the year Poole, then 59, learned he had prostate cancer. The news didn’t come as a shock, because his screening test at age 50 had shown a high prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level. As his PSA continued to rise over the years, Poole set out to investigate his options for prostate cancer treatment.

“I’m a firm believer that you have to be your own advocate,” he says. “I talked to close to two dozen people who’d had a variety of treatments.”

One of those people was his friend and fellow investment professional Mike Dougherty, who had helped launch the IPUC. Dougherty explained the center’s multidisciplinary approach, which encompasses every treatment modality along with basic and clinical research. Poole then interviewed several people at the University.

“One thing that impressed me was the amount of information the center had to help me look at all the treatment alternatives,” he recalls. “It was very welcoming.”

In the end, Poole opted for treatment at the IPUC with radiation oncologist Gordon Grado, M.D., a pioneer in brachytherapy, which involves placing tiny radioactive pellets in the prostate gland. “After going through the discovery process, I felt very confident I was making a good decision,” Poole says. “I thought it was the best chance I would have to get rid of the cancer with the fewest side effects.” Rates of incontinence and impotence following brachytherapy are among the lowest of any procedure for treating prostate cancer.

Indeed, Poole says he’s done very well since the treatment. And he is happy to spread the word about his good experience. He serves as a resource for other patients and as part of a cancer fundraising committee for the Minnesota Medical Foundation, which supports health-related research, education, and care at the University. Poole and his wife, Molly, also have made annual gifts to cancer efforts at the University, including prostate cancer research.

And most important, he is back to the things he loves. In addition to his work managing money for individuals and institutions, Poole skis, plays tennis, works out, and travels. He especially relishes time with his wife and his two daughters and their families.

By Lee Engfer

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