Mrs. Dean A. Gallo
62 Garden Court
Succasunna, NJ 07876
Home Phone (201) xxx-xxxx
I am Betty Gallo, wife of the late Congressman Dean A. Gallo (11th District) of New Jersey.
My husband, Dean, died of prostate cancer on November 6, 1994. Dean was diagnosed with advanced stage prostate cancer in February, 1992. At that time his PSA (prostate specific antigen) blood test was 883, his cancer had spread into his bones and he had a life expectancy of 3-6 months. Through the use of combined hormonal therapy and participation in clinical trials through the National Cancer Institute, he survived a miraculous 2 1/2 years with a good quality of life until his last six months.
Dean had always had annual physicals. During his physical in March of 1991, the physician performed a DRE (digital rectal examination). The PSA test was not being used as a normal diagnostic tool for the early detection of prostate cancer at that time. In August, 1991, Dean began complaining of back and shoulder pains. He felt that these problems were because of his height, because he was walking a great deal, and because he was getting older. I kept encouraging him to see a doctor, but he ignored my suggestions.
Finally, the pain became so intense that Dean made an appointment with his chiropractor. With no relief from the pain, he then visited his orthopedist, Dr. David Feldman. Cortisone injections provided little relief. Dr. Feldman then ordered a bone scan. The prostate cancer throughout Dean's body made the bone scan light up like a Christmas tree.
From that time on, Dean and I waged a battle with prostate cancer and PSA numbers. We lived by the results of the PSA levels. Sometimes it went up...sometimes it went down...Our moods were reflected by the PSA tests results.
I can only say that the one positive result of this disease was that it brought us closer together than we could ever have imagined. Our love was indestructible. We fought the battle of prostate cancer together. We vowed that when the battle was won we would advocate for early detection and increased awareness and research funding for prostate cancer.
Although Dean is no longer with us, I am keeping our vow. I admired and respected Dean and the way he endured the cancer, following his doctor's orders "to a tee", and maintaining his work schedule in Congress until the pain rendered him unable to continue. In fact, the majority of his colleagues did not know of his disease until he was about to retire. Dean Gallo will always be the person I will try to emulate because of the noble way he fought the prostate cancer.
It is my belief that if the PSA blood test had been used along with the DRE during Dean's annual physicals, he would be here with us today. The medical expenses for Dean in that 2 1/2/ years were close to $1 million. A tremendous amount of money could be saved if prostate cancer is detected and treated in its earliest and most curable stages. Men would have longer lives and they and their families would not have to endure the emotional pain of the disease. I cannot impress upon this Committee the importance of early detection with regard to the survival rate, cost factor and quality of life for prostate cancer patients and their families. Prostate cancer not only affects the man, but his family, and future generations.
The Committee must ensure that cancer patients have reimbursements for all approved cancer therapies. Dean was fortunate enough to have his medical expenses fully covered by insurance. The fear of how to pay for approved cancer therapies should not be a part of the struggle that families are confronted with in their battles with life threatening diseases such as cancer.
I thank the Committee for allowing me to present this testimony.
Betty I. Gallo