Bill Mahr understood first-hand the importance of medical service and research in the military. He had served 20 years in the Medical Service Corps of the US Army, and after retiring from the military, he began working at the Murtha Cancer Center at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center managing clinical trials. Bill’s office happened to be right next to the prostate clinic, where he would go for routine PSA screening. During one of his routine checks in 2016, he was told that his PSA level was rising quickly and that he should get a biopsy. The biopsy confirmed his worst fear: prostate cancer. Luckily, he had friends and colleagues at work that were experts in the field and helped guide him through his diagnosis and the treatment decision process. With their help, he decided to pursue robotic surgery, which was effective and he still has no evidence of disease to this day.
His cancer diagnosis and treatment experience gave him a new perspective that life is short, which led him to retire early to spend more time with his family and focus on advocacy work. After his surgery, Bill once again dedicated his time to service, but this time by becoming a “battle buddy” – a term often used in the military – for men newly diagnosed with prostate cancer. Through Us TOO, an organization which provides educational resources and support services to those affected by prostate cancer, he shared his own treatment experience with newly diagnosed men to help them navigate their treatment decisions. Additionally, he now serves as the president of his local Us TOO International chapter at Walter Reed. As president, he focuses on supporting the group leaders by connecting them to educational resources and coordinating educational speaker events.
Through his involvement with Us TOO, he was invited to become a consumer peer reviewer for the Prostate Cancer Research Program (PCRP) in 2018. Bill notes that he finds this an enjoyable experience and likes bringing the patient’s perspective to the discussion table. He also greatly enjoys working with the scientific reviewers and has learned so much from their perspective. He hopes that with persistence, the PCRP can continue to fund new research ideas that will help fight the battle against prostate cancer for service members and all men who are fighting this disease.
Last updated Thursday, October 8, 2020