Phil Shulka did not initially want to get tested for prostate cancer. After much urging from his wife he did, and the results were not good. He had prostate cancer, and it was bad: he had a PSA of 30 and Gleason 10 disease. With no symptoms prior, the diagnosis came as a shock to Phil and his family.
I know I would not be here if my wife did not insist that I get tested eleven years ago.
Now, eleven years after he was first diagnosed, Phil has run the gamut on treatment and has experienced a recurrence. He’s undergone hormone therapy, a DaVinci prostatectomy, and adjuvant IMRT radiation as well as experienced significant side effects from both his disease and the treatment. Since he was diagnosed, he’s had sling surgery to improve incontinence, a Penile Implant to correct erectile dysfunction, and an Artificial Urinary Sphincter to further reduce incontinence.
After being cancer-free for eight years, he’s now being treated on the EMBARK clinical trial and Xtandi while continuing to work as a Recovery Coach at ZERO Prostate Cancer Run/Walk Founding Partner Chesapeake Urology. In this role, he speaks with men diagnosed with prostate cancer to help them in their journey. From diagnosis to survivorship, he’s there to provide support, answer questions, and do all he can for the men in his community.
I talk to men before surgery, have visited more than 700 men in the hospital the day after their treatment, and conduct support group meetings on a regular basis to help as many men as I possibly can.
Phil is an outspoken advocate for the need for testing and early detection, and is a long-time Summit presenter and attendee where he speaks to his elected officials about the need for increased prostate cancer research funding and awareness.
More than four years ago, Phil met with Nashville recording artist and eventual-ZERO spokesman Jimmy Charles in Nashville, where together with Goose Gossett they penned Jimmy’s song “Superman,” an anthem to prostate cancer patients and survivors. LINK. The song told the story of Phil’s journey, and would go on to inspire countless men and their families and become ZERO’s official anthem.
More men get prostate cancer than women get breast cancer, but men are reluctant to talk about it. Working [as a recovery coach] gives me the opportunity to help other men who are going through what I went through. I want to help take the fear out of the disease by giving men the information they need to make decisions about their personal situation.