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Prostate Cancer: Things You Should Know

Prostate Cancer: Things You Should Know

If you are a man 40 years old or older (or if you have a loved one who fits this description) I would like to suggest you make an appointment with your family doctor to have a PSA (prostate specific antigen) blood test taken along with a prostate cancer exam known as the digital rectal exam or DRE.

 For years I scoffed at such an idea and made jokes about such exams. But shortly after turning 59 I decided to have it done. I had quit smoking on my birthday and wanted to get a clean bill of health heading into my last year before hitting the big 6-0.

 When the nurse called and asked me to come back for a follow-up appointment with the doctor to discuss my lab tests, I thought I would be getting a talk about high cholesterol. But instead he told me my PSA results were a little high (4.1) for my age and recommended either seeing a specialist (urologist) or wait a couple of months and have another blood (PSA) test. I opted to see Dr. McCoy, who came down from Iowa City every other week to see patients. After he did another exam he suggested I come to his clinic for a biopsy. That meant a trip to Iowa City (55 miles away) and having a very uncomfortable needle biopsy procedure. A few days after the biopsy the call came from my doctor, "You have cancer." From that moment on my life changed in many ways. My journal grew as I tried to record my emotions over the following days. My wife and I went in and met with Dr. McCoy to find out what our options were. They varied from "wait and see," radiation treatments, seeding, to surgery. He was very good at presenting the treatment options in language we could understand. And he was very patient, taking the time to answer all the questions I had accumulated in my 200LX before coming in. He made me realize how important it was to have not only a caring doctor but one who can explain things in simple terms and make us feel comfortable about what we would be facing. We discussed everything with our children and made the decision to have a radical prostatectomy to remove the cancerous prostate.

 The surgery was a success; my recovery, to date, has been uneventful; my follow-up tests have shown no recurrence of the cancer. I will continue my various phases of recovery from the surgery, continue to learn how to deal with being a cancer survivor, and having exams and tests for the rest of my life. My life is changed forever; but I am thankful to still have a life.

 You will hear people talk about how PCa is a couple's disease or even a family disease. My feelings are that this is only partially true. There are emotional effects on those that care for you. But, for me, it is a very personal disease that can't be fully understood by anyone who hasn't actually had to deal with it in his own body.

As a PCa Survivor I use the Prostate Cancer Awareness postage stamp on all my mail and do everything I can to help promote PCa awareness to those people I meet. And I take this opportunity to alert the readers of The HP Palmtop Paper about the important need for all men to have a prostate cancer exam and PSA blood test.

I would be happy to share my experiences and any other information I have on prostate cancer with you. You can e-mail me at iowayne@ yahoo.com and you can find a lot of good information at www.cancerfacts.com.

iPhone Life magazine

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