How the Interboro Teacher Became a Student of Cancer Care
When you’re an educator you not only live to teach you also live to learn. Jack Lefkowitz, a retired teacher and administrator, spent the last 25 years keeping up with the tests and knowledge needed to stay healthy and disease-free. However, this past year, a routine screening event at the Crozer Medical Plaza at Brinton Lake gave him the one diagnosis he hoped he’d never receive: cancer.
Lefkowitz, from Wilmington, Delaware, remembers feeling “extremely unhappy and quite apprehensive” when he was told he had prostate cancer. “There was no family history of prostate cancer,” he says. “I was the first.”
Lefkowitz credits the routine checkup he received at Crozer Health ’s screening event for his early diagnosis. He was advised to have further testing, which revealed that he did, in fact, have prostate cancer. His decades of teaching experience in the Interboro School District armed him with the proper mindset ¾ get educated then make a decision. Lefkowitz discussed possible treatments with physicians and then set out to find the best doctors to help him along his journey.
“I went to Crozer Medical Plaza at Brinton Lake, a nearby facility, and was told about Dr. Olusola Obayomi-Davies by a staff member,” Lefkowitz says. “Everything was as excellent as it could be in an unfortunate situation. I was very satisfied with the plan offered for my treatment.”
Lefkowitz then had to learn more about his treatment options and choose the best one for him. He was presented with several – including having his prostate completely removed or receiving radiation therapy. He enjoys an active lifestyle; Lefkowitz walks over two miles a day and rides bikes and a motorcycle. For those reasons, he chose to receive radiation therapy. The removal of the prostate has other side effects that deterred Lefkowitz away from that option.
“We discussed the breadth of available treatment options at our center – including conventional external beam radiation therapy, brachytherapy, and Cyberknife radiosurgery,” says Davies, a Crozer Health radiation oncologist. “We spent a lot of time going over Jack’s specific situation, typical side effects and how our expertise in brachytherapy and Cyberknife were an asset to his treatment goals. One of the advantages of receiving radiation therapy in our program is our vast arsenal of special radiation procedures that allow our patients to receive comprehensive cutting-edge cancer treatment.”
Lefkowitz says the support from his partner, Mary Lou Schoff, and his family keeps him going strong during a very difficult time. He stresses the importance of prostate screening on an annual basis to his three sons and to friends. “I tell them how important it is to have the PSA test whenever they see their doctor yearly,” he says. “I will continue to push a little, but I think they will take care of business.”
Schoff has especially been Lefkowitz’s rock during his treatments. “I lean on her; she is strong and she helps me in every way you can imagine,” he says. Part of his treatment plan includes hormone injections, which cause him to have hot flashes every so often. He jokes that he and Schoff sometimes compare notes, but says that she has really been understanding and helpful.
As for Davies, and the Cyberknife and Crozer Health Cancer Center staffs at Brinton Lake, Lefkowitz gives them an “A+” grade. “Dr. Davies gave me all the information and support I needed,” he says. “When I meet with him it’s like meeting with a friend. With Dr. Davies, I felt completely at home. We talked about motorcycles and vacations. It was just like two friends talking, but he made sure we took care of business. He has been my guiding light through the most serious part of this time. Dr. Davies is a fantastic oncologist and one of the finest people I have ever known.”
“We are both big fans of ‘50s- and ‘60s-era Doo Wop and jazz,” Davies says. “Considering I am a fairly recent transplant to the Philadelphia area, he introduced me to the Lancaster Avenue Jazz and Arts Festival. I truly feel privileged to be his radiation oncologist and I look forward to his follow-up visits.”
For more information about Crozer Health ’s cancer services, visit crozerkeystone.org/Cancer.