This Test Saved My Life When I Was Diagnosed With Prostate Cancer

My doctor called yesterday with the pathology report, surgery was one week ago today.

I was very lucky!

I had a more aggressive form of cancer than they thought, it was ready to spread. They believe they got it all, but will continue to run tests for a long time…

I don’t fit the “profile” to have prostate cancer, no family history, I’m younger than most who develop it, I had no symptoms etc etc. Which brings me to this VERY important message:

PLEASE guys, have a simple PSA blood test, it could save your life. I don’t like drama, but it really did save mine. DROP THE MIC! (From my couch in my condo!)

So what is the prostate-specific antigen (PSA)? It’s a simple blood test. Doctors take a blood sample, which then goes to a laboratory to be analyzed. It measures the amount of prostate-specific antigen in your blood. If it’s elevated, it might be an early indication of prostate cancer The FDA approved its use in 1986 and it’s been used since 1994 in conjunction with digital rectal exams to test men for prostate cancer.

Currently, the CDC does not recommend men get a PSA test. The American Urological Association recommends men between the ages of 55 and 69 consider it. The American Cancer Society recommends men between ages 40 and 50 start a conversation about the PSA test with their doctor, depending on their risk level for prostate cancer. The American College of Physicians recommends men between the ages of 50 and 69 discuss the test with their doctor.

Why doesn’t the CDC recommend the PSA test? The test can potentially provide false positives or negatives. Which is true, the test is not perfect! It’s definitely one step of many when it comes to a diagnosis, and not the definitive answer.

But don’t listen to me! Chat with a doctor about it.

As urologic oncologist Dr. Samadi puts it, high PSA levels don’t always indicate a man has prostate cancer, but the PSA test “is often the first step in screening for prostate cancer along with the second screening test which is a digital rectal exam (DRE).”

“The most important message for men is to have regular yearly checkups with their physician along with a PSA blood test and DRE starting at age 40,” writes Dr. Samadi. “Do not assume right away that a high PSA is automatically prostate cancer. There are many different causes for an elevated PSA. Sorting out what exactly is the cause needs to be determined before assuming it is prostate cancer. Even if it is, when a man receives regular medical care and follows healthy lifestyle habits, he will be in a better position to beat back the cancer and get on with his life.”

So consider getting tested! It could save your life!

More from Dave Fogel
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