I was diagnosed with prostate cancer at a relatively young age of 55 last year. It was a shock to me as I had no symptoms and was in excellent health.
The biopsy revealed a Gleason 7 at stage T1C which basically means a moderately aggressive tumour that is still well contained within the prostate.
Now there is a lot of confusion and noise out there about prostate screening and whether it unveils too many false-positives and that most men die “with” prostate cancer not “of” prostate cancer.
The media is filled with stories such as Most Men Don’t Need a PSA Test that mainly came from a position by the US Preventative Services Task Force.
In 2012, the task force recommended that doctors stop PSA screening of all men because many more men “will experience the harms of screening and treatment of screen-detected disease than will experience the benefit.”
Well I just wanted to say that most urologists I have spoken to disagree with this opinion. While it is true that some older men with lower Gleason scores may not need to do anything, in my case it saved my life!
My family doctor noticed in rise in my PSA. By having it checked periodically I had a baseline for him to provide an opinion. The sudden rise suggested he should refer me to a urologist. After many types of non-invasive testing my new urologist was adamant that I have a biopsy. My DRE (Digital Rectal Exam) was normal. My PSA was around 4.5 which is not HUGE. I went anyway after much research.
When I finally opted for surgery in November of 2015, the pathology confirmed a Gleason 7 tumor and upgraded the stage to T2C. That is the last stage before the cancer breaks out of the prostate and metastasizes, usually to the bones. It would have killed me.
Roughly 4,100 men will die of the disease in Canada this year, making it the second deadliest cancer among American men, after lung cancer.
Knowledge is power. Get checked!.