Men: Get Tested for Prostate Cancer Today
Tim Tyler was diagnosed with prostate cancer in March of 2012 when he was 53. Because of his family’s history with cancer, he started getting Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) blood tests which measures antigens in the prostate.
“I would get yearly labwork starting in ’04.” Tim says. “The doctor said your PSA blood level is high for a man your age. And then ’06 came and the number was up to two. Move to 2012 and the PSA is at a 6. And then the doctors assured me that if you don’t do something soon it’s going to a serious problem.”
Tim lived a healthy lifestyle and was taken aback by the news.
Dr. Bill Hartsell of the CDH Proton Center says nearly 30,000 men die every year because of the disease.
“Prostate cancer is a growth in the prostate,” he says “A small gland at the base of the blatter just in men. It’s the most common cancer in men. Over 200,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer. Typically it happens in men who are in their 60s and 70s. But it can happen in men who are younger than that in their 40s and 50s.”
Dr. Hartsell says that if physicians can catch the cancer early, it is very treatable.
“There are treatments that are done for prostate cancers that are localized.” he continues, “And those involve surgery, that is removing the prostate cancer or radiation therapy. And radiation therapy can be given in different ways.”
According to Dr. Hartsell, proton therapy is one of the least invasive methods of radiation therapy and has the lowest risk of long term side effects. Both of which appealed to Tim.
“I was convinced that I should do the proton therapy and it’s worked out pretty well.” he says. “I get my treatment. I usually go to work. I mean that’s not a disruption to my day for a serious disease.”
Though Tim certainly wishes he would’ve addressed his high PSA numbers earlier
“If you don’t pay attention to them they will get out of hand,” Tim cautions. “And the prostate cancer will spread. I would urge many men to get that PSA number read, it’s a simple blood test. I recommend avoiding prostate cancer by simply getting that test done.”
“The earlier we find it the higher the likelihood of cure but If you delay with an aggressive cancer that can be a big problem.” warns Dr. Hartsell. “Causing problems with your urination, blocking off urination or spreading to parts of the body like the bone. The best time to find this is before it’s causing a problem.”
The best way to prevent prostate cancer from causing serious problems is simply talking to your physician.
“Since we’ve been doing screening over the past 20 years the death rate from prostate cancer has gone down.” says Dr. Hartsell. “So men who are over 50, men who have a history of prostate cancer, especially African American men should be bringing that up with their doctor when they see their doc for a routine exam.”
“The problem is men aren’t as concerned with taking care of their bodies.” Tim guesses. “Men aren’t as conscious as women are in terms of dealing with cancer. In comparison to breast cancer and prostate cancer men just don’t… I don’t think we get it. It’s serious I would say to anyone you’ve got to look into whether or not you are going to get prostate cancer and the sooner you do it the better off you’ll be.”
For more information on prostate cancer, click here.
To learn more about PSA testing, follow this link.