Saturday, November 17, 2007

Prostate Cancer

Here is a warning for all the Guys out there. Have your PSA (Prostate Specific Antigens) checked by a doctor after you reach the age of 40. It is a simple blood test and can be done along with your yearly physical. It gives you a warning as to whether or not you have Prostate Cancer. My dad's brother (Uncle Sam) died in his fifties from Prostate Cancer. It was a time when the medical community wasn't quite as savvy as they are today on Prostate Cancer. My father found he had Prostate Cancer in his early seventies and had radiation therapy to stop the spread of the Cancer. He lived over the ten years they had told him he would live.

Eight years ago I had a test for my PSA number during a yearly physical. A reading of less then four on the PSA scale is considered good depending on your age. I had a reading of 12. This did not mean that I had Prostate Cancer but it did mean that further testing would be required. The first thing I did was call my sister, who is a nurse and My Angel to me on medical issues, to talk out all the options. I then used the Internet (Web MD) to get further information. My wife has been a rock through this whole procedure.

I have a self directed medical health insurance so I ended up going to the Cleveland Clinic to do further testing. Through other patient recommendations, I found one of the top Urologist in the country at the clinic, Dr. Craig Zippe. The next thing you have to do is to get a biopsy of the Prostate. I'll be honest with you this is a painful procedure that is done while you are awake. You definitely know each time a sample is taken of the Prostate. That test turned out positive and meant I needed a procedure to eliminate the Cancer. I chose a Radical Prostatectomy which means the Prostate is removed and and the Cancer goes with the Prostate. Dr. Zippe told me he took an extra 2 mm around the Prostate and testing showed there was no cancer outside the Prostate. The Cancer had gone into the 2mm section around the cancer. I'm thankful Dr. Zippe took the extra cut. This was good news and meant that there would be no radiation therapy required to complete the job. If the cancer had gone out of the Prostate it could cause bone cancer. I had a close call during the operation and Dr. Zippe told me I had veins where there shouldn't have been veins. I lost a lot of blood and coming out of the operation was tough and I was definitely in the danger zone. I did make it and other then problems that come from the operation I am fairly healthy.

It has been 7 years since the operation and the further PSA testing has shown that there is no longer any Cancer in my system. Dr. Zippe said he had added on ten years to my normal life span with the operation. He was saying I would live an extra ten years past what I could have with the Cancer because I had the operation.

All of you that are getting close to 40 talk to your doctors about having your PSA checked.


Rebecca Burch said...

Thanks for the info. My husband is getting close to 40, but refuses to go to the doctor unless he is bleeding from the eyeballs or worse. It might help if he knows there is a blood test for this and he doesn't have to do the ... er... less pleasant test right off the bat. :)

Rebecca Burch said...

... and is your doctor's name pronounced "Zippy?" Because, how cool would it be to be named "Doctor Zippy?"

If someone was doing a really unpleasant procedure on me, I would want his name to be "Zippy." :)

fishing guy said...

Sorry, they still do the rectal exam to check for enlargement of the Prostate. That is another problem men have and can be separate from the Cancer. I was never found to have an enlarged prostate. The blood test is for PSA rating.

Getting a physical is normally a fairly easy procedure but is important that it is done to catch any problem early.

The doctor's name is pronounced (zip). I have heard him called (zippy) purely by mistake by my doctor. I always laugh inside when he does.

Maggie May said...

My husband was diagnosed after having no symptoms what so ever, except he passed some blood. That was in 2002. He had an op that did not work (cancer is still around) and he is having various treatments, so I am passionately saying......... get you PSA levels checked & have an examination. It could save your life.

Louise said...

I am glad they have better screening these days to catch even the possibility. If people take advantage, the odds are good.