Cancer Patient Warns Against Putting Off Doctor Appointment During Pandemic

Steve Stoler is a former TV reporter, current media relations director with the City of Plano, and now a 2-time cancer survivor

NBCUniversal, Inc.

A new national survey finds many Americans would put off doctor's appointments during a pandemic. But one North Texas man is speaking out to show the importance of not procrastinating when it involves your healthcare.

Steve Stoler has had a career in front of the camera; first as a TV reporter in North Texas, and now a spokesman for the City of Plano. On Wednesday Stoler turned the camera on himself again to document his last day of radiation treatments for prostate cancer.

"My final treatment," Stoler said in a video diary. "It'll be my 28th treatment."

Stoler started radiation in December to battle prostate cancer. It's his second bout with cancer. The first time was lymphoma.

"I'm not thankful for having cancer twice, but I am thankful the two times I've had cancer here, I am on the verge of being a two-time survivor," Stoler said.

Monday through Friday, for five and a half weeks, five minutes each day, a Varian Linear Accelerator TrueBeam targeted radiation with pinpoint accuracy on Stoler's prostate. "Which of course kills cancer cells," Stoler said.

"He's got a wonderfully positive attitude," Dr. James Petrikas said. Petrikas is Stoler's radiation oncologist.

"Back when I was 18, 19 I was diagnosed with cancer," Petrikas said. "It doesn't give me superpowers, but I understand the anxiety on a different level."

He also knows how important it is to keep doctor appointments, even during a pandemic. It's the reason Stoler is sharing his story.

"There's never a good time to have cancer, but the thing is, even during a pandemic, if you can get treated and move past it, you're one step closer to having a longer life," Stoler said.

As Stoler finished his last radiation treatment he rang a bell at Texas Oncology Baylor Plano, signaling the end of his 5 1/2 week course of radiation.

"It's a great feeling just to know that you are done," Stoler said. "Health is happiness."

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