Jeffrey Gray and wifeJeffrey Gray is a longtime agricultural livelihood specialist and activist devoted to helping communities in Africa. He is now also a prostate cancer survivor, thanks to the robotic-assisted surgery he received from urologic oncologist Michael J. Whalen, MD, at the GW Cancer Center. Now he's back to doing the things he loves.

The Importance of Early Detection

Gray’s primary care provider detected a problem with his prostate during his annual exam through a prostate specific antigen (PSA) test. Because his PSA test showed elevated levels, Gray needed a biopsy, which showed that he had prostate cancer. “To be honest, it was scary,” he says. “I’d felt no signs of anything being wrong whatsoever.”

Gray’s PCP referred him to the GW Cancer Center and Dr. Whalen.

Getting to know Dr. Whalen was very important to Gray and his wife. “As far as I’m concerned, Dr. Whalen walks on water and GW is very fortunate to have such a capable urologist performing prostate surgeries,” Gray says.

Ongoing Support

Many prostate cancer patients experience some level of difficulty with incontinence. After his surgery, Gray followed Dr. Whalen’s advice to meet with a physical therapist to practice Qigong exercises for strengthening the pelvic floor. He now performs the exercises on a weekly basis.

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Gray also received support from other prostate cancer survivors. “One of the beautiful things about GW Hospital is that they also put you in touch with support groups,” he explains. “I have monthly meetings with a men’s prostate cancer support group, and you hear everyone's story and they're all different.”

A Patient’s Call to Action

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that African American men like Jeffrey Gray are more likely to get prostate cancer and more likely to die from it than white men. Because of this, Gray is adamant about raising awareness in the community and encouraging prostate cancer screenings.

“It’s something that I certainly emphasize to my son, my brother and family members because prostate cancer is treatable,” he says. “And if you catch it early enough, then there’s a good chance that you can have the surgery and have many more productive years to be with your loved ones.”