As a retired police officer, Ron Henerfouth is a man of action. So a prostate cancer diagnosis in 2016 was no reason to sit and feel sorry for himself. Henerfouth got busy with his doctor at Alton Memorial Hospital, and soon the case was closed.
“Once you get over the shock of the ‘C word,’ you need to go out and get all the information you can, ask questions and then get to work,” said Henerfouth, who lives near Lockhaven Golf Club west of Godfrey. “Cancer can be a kick in the gut, but you can cry about it or get on with it. I look at prostate cancer for men the same way breast cancer is for women. It’s usually very treatable and curable. It’s not a death sentence, more like a bump in the road. But don’t ignore it.”
Henerfouth said his PSA numbers were way up in April 2016, and a biopsy confirmed the diagnosis. He elected to undergo surgery at that time, however he had risk factors concerning a possible residual tumor. With his PSA continuing to rise months after surgery, he underwent radiation to help eradicate any remaining prostate cancer. That was 40 days of radiation treatment at the AMH Cancer Care Center, under the supervision of Dr. Gregory Vlacich, medical director at the center.
“It’s world class treatment at Alton Memorial,” Henerfouth said. “It can’t be done any better. Dr. Vlacich is extremely competent and provides you with a sense of security. It was almost a pleasure to go there for 40 straight days. I saw Dr. Vlacich every Tuesday with any questions or concerns, and he and the staff satisfied all my needs.”
“With patients such as Mr. Henerfouth who have to undergo about eight weeks of daily radiation therapy, being able to offer treatment closer to home is a huge advantage and benefit to the patient,” said Dr. Vlacich. “Importantly, at Alton Memorial, we are able to offer this convenience and still provide more conformal treatment with the latest technology.”
Henerfouth said the worst side effect he had from the radiation therapy was getting tired. But an hour to 90 minutes of sleep following the treatments each day eventually got him back to his old self.
“The goal was to regain my energy, and eventually I did,” he said. “I like to go boating, working in the yard, all the things it takes to take care of your home. And now I can do that again.
“You have to feel good about what you’re doing, and I knew from the start that Alton Memorial was the right place with the right people. I never doubted it for a minute, and I’ve told one of my friends the same thing because he is facing a similar situation.”
Above: Ron Henerfouth, right, visits with Dr. Gregory Vlacich at the Alton Memorial Hospital Cancer Care Center.