As I have gotten older I have become an amateur expert on illnesses I have had or people I love have had. I could tell you all about Atrial Septal Defect, a heart disorder that is congenital that is usually found days after a baby is born but mine wasn’t found until I was 36 years old. It is unfathomable to me that all those doctors over all those years missed it. The one who found it was pissed off at all the others. She was a feisty bitch and I didn’t like her, but bless her heart, (no pun intended) she found it. I had it fixed. Not easy. Open heart surgery. A lot of pain. A lot of drugs. A lot of scars. I could have dropped dead and I didn’t. I’m grateful to the feisty bitch.
Now, someone I care a lot about is having a prostate cancer recurrence. This man asked his primary care physician if he could get him in for a physical at the end of 2013. Of course, every one in the world is trying to get in for their physical while their deductible is satisfied at the end of the year. This man’s physician said no, he couldn’t squeeze him in. My friend said, “Can we at least do blood work?” This request saved my friends life.
You guys, prostate cancer is the number one cancer for men and one in six men will be diagnosed with it sometime in their lifetime. There are no symptoms in the first 2 to 3 stages of the disease and by the 4rth stage you might be toast. Yes, I’m trying to scare you. Like any other cancer the trick is to catch it early. Stage one prostate cancer is relatively easy to treat and has a huge success rate. Stage two, a little trickier but still very treatable with a radical prostatectomy. (Surgical removal of the prostate or other options depending on your situation). Stage three means cancer cells have gone beyond the initial site, maybe into lymph nodes, etc. and that gets into really serious cancer treatment which has serious quality of life implications. Stage 4 I don’t even want to talk about.
The reason I’m writing this, is that there is this new idea circulating around that maybe a yearly PSA test is not that important. There are organizations that say it leads to false positives and unnecessary biopsies. If my friend did not get a PSA test in 2013 it could easily be over by now, if you know what I mean. A PSA test will tell you if your PSA is elevated and if you might have cancer! It’s an easy and cheap test! A little blood test!
Men, I warn you, do not assume when your doctor says your blood work was fine that she /he tested you for PSA. You must know what your PSA is, guys! I have men friends who say their doctors do the blood work but don’t include PSA! WHAT? It’s the number one cancer of men! Why would that not be obviously in every blood work up! I just don’t get it. But it’s true. Take control of your health by being positive your doctor is checking PSA. Have I made my point? One in six! Get your PSA test no matter what anyone says!
Whew, I’m exhausted…..