Information, advocacy, and options.
Bob Watson grew up in Gainesville, Florida, a more or less rural community known as Gator Country. Now retired after 28 years in the United States Army as a lieutenant colonel, most people know him as direct, disciplined, and caring (Bob shown right with family).
All of these characteristics came in handy when faced with a prostate cancer diagnosis.
“I was diagnosed with high-risk prostate cancer in September 2013, and was faced with a tremendous amount of conflicting information while trying to decide upon a course of treatment within a very compressed period of time,” said Watson. “This added a great deal more stress to an already stressful time in my life.”
During those difficult weeks, Watson took the advice of medical professionals as well as former patients who had received one form of treatment or another. He also read several books and other publications, in addition to the information available on the internet from both governmental and educational sources.
Fortunately, Bob was able to lean on his family for support, even as the distressing news of his diagnosis and subsequent treatment decision process upended his life. The highlight of that support was a 500-mile hike through Spain post treatment with his three daughters.
“That really helped to get the emotional baggage under control,” he recalls.
Today, Bob is an active advocate for prostate cancer education, awareness, and treatment, and his involvement in the COMPPARE study as a patient stakeholder serves as an example of his dedication. He has especially been committed to finding a path for patient enrollment through military providers.
Bob takes the time to meet with men individually and in small groups, encouraging them to get their PSAs or other diagnostic tests early. He also discusses treatment options from a patient’s perspective. It is his goal to provide information that might reduce the anxiety associated with diagnosis and treatment for others.
Watson says that being involved with COMPPARE has been a rewarding experience. It gives him comfort to know that the study’s efforts may benefit future patients struggling with the difficult decision in choosing treatment options.
“It is my hope that more studies comparing treatment alternatives will be produced and made readily available for future patients to use during a most critical time in their lives,” says Watson. “And I hope that COMPPARE will provide patients and healthcare providers with meaningful information to allow them to make informed choices as to a course of treatment.”
Bob Watson and other COMPPARE Patient Stakeholders comprise diverse racial, geographic, and work experience backgrounds, providing valuable data for consideration by prostate cancer researchers and their patients worldwide. We are grateful for their courage and continued contributions.