Ben Caskey // Cancer

CaskeyLong time Liberty resident Ben Caskey was like many other men.  He didn’t have a primary care physician, because he simply did not go to the doctor.  In fact, he had not seen a doctor in 35 years.

After helping his father fight a long battle with prostate cancer, and eventually seeing him pass away at the age of 74, Ben realized he needed to have regular screenings.  He finally made the choice to take advantage of the free annual PSA screenings and digital exams.

For years, Ben attended the screenings and received the good news every man wants to hear.  Then, after seven years, things took a turn.  Even though the PSA numbers were in the normal range, the digital exam indicated a problem.

“If you don’t have that digital exam, you really need to,” Ben said.  His wife Pam added, “Who knows how many years would have gone by before the PSA count had gone up.”

The physician Ben saw that day asked one of the specialists to for a second opinion prior to moving forward, but the answer was identical.  He needed a biopsy and eventually surgery.   Patient Navigator Brenda Bowman referred Ben to Reid’s Urological Care.

“The surgery was easy,” Ben said.  “The doctor was wonderful, and I had a good experience at the hospital.”

Due to scarring and other issues, Ben had two follow-up surgeries, but continued pushing through every challenge.  Brenda led Ben through the entire process, answering questions as needed and keeping him “well-informed” of each step.

Over the next two years, Ben continued to have PSA tests every three months.  The count slowly increased each time, leading to another difficult decision.  Under the care of Dr. John Jacobs, Ben began radiation treatments to “clean it up”.  Fortunately, Ben had no reactions to the radiation, completing his 38 treatments in just a few weeks.

“Dr. Jacobs was really good,” Pam said.  “He just spelled it all out.”

Ben pushed through his treatment trying to keep his life as normal as possible.  “Nothing slowed me down,” he said.  The care of the entire team – primary care, oncology, patient navigator and surgeons – worked together to make the process as smooth as possible.

Now, cancer free, Ben is back to cheering for his favorite teams – Reds and Bengals – and going to the theatre with Pam to watch their daughter, Hollie, perform.  Mostly, he loves spending time with his wife.  They know, together they can face anything.

Pam’s final advice: “Men need to have the physical exam, and tell friends to do the same.  Suck it up and do it!”

Often, patients are overwhelmed and confused.  The Cancer fund provides patient navigators to assist with appointments and introductions and answer questions.  For Ben Caskey, that knowledge was invaluable.