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Cancer: Prostate Message Board

Cancer: Prostate Board Index

[QUOTE=able5;3300583]Hey Jim;

It's been a while since I have read a well written post about a first hand experience. Thanks for taking the time to share. Obviously, your journey has not been an easy one. You sound like an educated and well read guy with a great vocabulary so I was surprised when you said you had not been screened for prostate cancer until age 56 in 1999. Did PSA screenings exist back then?[/QUOTE]

If I had it to do over, I definitely would have had PSA tests and DRE exams much earlier so that I would not have found myself at the edge of a precipice when I was diagnosed.

PSA tests were indeed available in 1999 and in fact there had been a rapid rise in diagnosed cases of prostate cancer in the late eighties through early nineties following the FDA's approval of the test in 1987. There goes my shot at that excuse.

I wasn't tuned out and did know about the PSA test, though I had never heard of a DRE. But what I was hearing was equivocal, with reports of doctors who said the PSA was of little value about as frequent as reports of doctors who favored the test. Also, I was in my early fifties then as I closed in unaware on my first PSA test at age 56. My grandfather had died of PC but late in life, and I did not realize his cancer was prostate cancer. My father had also died of the disease, but he too was diagnosed in his seventies and survived ten years. I was leading a better lifestyle with ample exercise, enjoyed generally fine health and had a good diet, so I assumed I was at low risk, not then knowing a whole lot about the disease or really caring. (Has that ever changed!)

One day as I approached a nearby high school track where I racewalked regularly, after hydrating in preparation for the workout. I suddenly felt an urgent need to pee like I had never felt before. I made a beeline for the Johnny-on-the-Spot, fervently hoping the door was unlocked. It was, but it made me think and decide to get a physical that I'd been putting off for several years. The doctor said I was fine and rose from his chair to see me out. I said, "Shouldn't I have a PSA test?" He said he did not think it was necessary, but he would write a script for it if I really wanted it. Three days later I was in the office again for an allergy shot, and the somber looks on the faces of the staff caught my attention. The doctor called me into his office, slid the test result report across the table to me, and just let me take it in. I was confused as I didn't see a score in the range of up to 10 that I expected. I noticed the 113.6 but thought it was a serial number. Then I realized what it was and my world changed. :( Needless to say, the doctor was pretty embarrassed, especially since I had listed my father's death from prostate cancer on the history sheet.

I am disturbed that many doctors are still telling their patients that the PSA test may not be helpful. In fact, the US Preventive Services Taskforce, an official Government group, was opposed to PSA testing up to a few years ago; at that time they changed their stance to neutral. Fortunately, other respected groups like the ACS encourage men to be tested.


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