Skip to main content
Robert and his care team

Robert and his care team

Patient Story

One-of-a-kind standard treatment in the province

"It’s a wonderful thing to have such high quality care close to home." - Bob Pachal

After gallbladder surgery, Bob Pachal started experiencing problems urinating and headed to the Emergency Room in Ajax to see what was going on. Little did Bob know, he was on the first leg of his journey with cancer. The 78-year-old Whitby resident was told by a urologist that he had an enlarged prostate and tests were done to track his prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels, a measurement of the protein produced by his prostate gland.
While Bob’s PSA levels had been up and down in recent years, there had been no cause for concern until the ER visit in 2021. After his levels rose again even while on medication, Bob was told he needed a biopsy.
Unfortunately, Bob’s results pointed to prostate cancer and he was referred to Dr. Wayne Koll at the R.S. McLaughlin Durham Regional Cancer Centre in Oshawa.

“After my biopsy results, Dr. Koll and his team discussed a course of action. I asked a lot of questions about the technology and they really listened,” remembers Bob. “I learned that I’d need radiation but that Lakeridge had a special gel available during treatment that would help reduce the side effects.”

Bob’s treatment began with the insertion of a SpaceOAR Hydrogel spacer which was used to reduce the negative effects radiation can have on the bowel during treatment. Lakeridge Health is the only Hospital in the province providing these gels as a standard of care for patients – all thanks to donor support during Our Cancer Campaign.

“Throughout my whole treatment I continued to do a lot of research and ask a lot of questions. I was really impressed by how they answered me,” says Bob. “I’m an engineer and a consultant in telecomm engineering. It’s in my blood to analyze everything and understand how it works. I truly believe that the technology and expertise at Lakeridge Health rivals that of downtown hospitals. I felt comfortable with the team and knew there was no reason to head outside my community for care when we have such an incredible Cancer Centre here.”

Bob has been a Durham Region resident since 1972 and has seen Lakeridge Health grow and evolve in this community, including the creation of the very Cancer Centre that cared for him.

Dr. Koll and team set up a regime of 15 radiation sessions that had Bob in the Centre five days a week, as well as a hormone treatment to tackle his prostate cancer.

“Everything was impressive, from the treatment rooms to the staff checking me in. Everything was always on schedule. I had my treatment in the thick of COVID-19 restrictions but I never felt like my care was impacted by that. I saw Dr. Koll every week and he was always very kind and professional. He never rushed me.”

Aside from the exceptional care he received, Bob notes that his family was a pillar of support through the whole experience. “My wife was a registered nurse at the Ajax Hospital for many years and she’s also a breast cancer survivor. She understood a lot of what I was going through – the personal and mental side of it all – and kept us both positive.”

Today, Bob is feeling well and still very grateful for the care he’s received. His care team continues to monitor his PSA levels and stay on top of any changes to his health.

“Everything throughout my experience was state-of-the-art. It’s a wonderful thing to have such high quality care close to home. I was never concerned.  I knew I was in good hands and that makes a world of difference when you’re faced with something as frightening as cancer.”

To support Our Cancer Campaign and make an impact on patients like Bob, visit for a simple and easy way to give back.