The "Best" Cancer to Have?? Get Tested!

It is often dismissively said that Prostate Cancer is "the best one to have." Really?? Is there any GOOD cancer?? True, prostate cancer is usually slow-growing (but not always) and it is quite curable IF caught in time. By the time a man is experiencing troublesome symptoms, it can be too late. Once metastasized it becomes incurable and it DOES kill.

Symptoms before diagnosis

My long-standing issues with a weak urine stream were attributed to benign prostate hyperplasia, BPH, and I was happy enough to believe that rather than to think the worst. My Grade Five tumor was undetectable on digital rectal exam, but ultimately, PSA results indicated there was a problem and further tests were necessary.

A follow-up MRI showed a large suspicious Grade V (most likely cancer) mass in my left anterior prostate. A biopsy confirmed what I had feared; it was indeed a moderately aggressive cancer.

Diagnosis, caught it early

Thankfully it was still localized to the prostate and therefore very likely curable. We had detected it in time only because I insisted on having a simple PSA blood test at age 74. What if I had not asked for the test that is too often not routinely ordered for men 70 and older? Where would I be now?

Acting according to Medicare protocol your primary care physician may not routinely order a PSA test if you are 70 or older. Beginning at age 45, all men with a life expectancy of ten years or more or a family history of PC should insist on annual screening. Speak up! Don't get too comfortable with the thought the doctor knows best what I need. These days your doctor must follow protocol handed down from "on high." YOU MUST BE YOUR OWN ADVOCATE! It could save your life.

Early detection is important

In a recently taped interview for Prostate Cancer Foundation deceased actor, James Michael Tyler, who died at age 59 from metastatic prostate cancer on October 24, 2021, closed his interview with these words. "I wish I'd gone in earlier" he managed to choke through tears. "If you want to hang around, get tested."

The PSA is a simple blood test. It's easy-peasy, but I understand why some men, including me, are reluctant to get the DRE. It's embarrassing and invasive, but perhaps no more so than a PAP smear is for a woman. The thing is, it's a matter of life and death. I've had everything but the kitchen sink shoved up there in the last year during my diagnosis and treatment, but it may well have saved me the terrible outcome James Tyler experienced.

Rest in Peace, "Gunther." I wish you'd gone in sooner too.Last Radiation Treatment Completed

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