Get Tested

I continue to recover from my prostate surgery. A couple days ago the doctor removed the catheter and removed the dressing on my incisions. I am now working, not very well so far, to regain control of my urination.

I wanted to publish what I hope is implicit in my past two posts: get tested. If I had not been tested for prostate cancer as part of my routine physical exam a few weeks ago, I would have no sense that I have cancer. Most men with prostate cancer, if the cancer is not detected through testing, have no symptoms until the cancer is quite widespread, when it causes bone pain and other symptoms.

At that point, if the diagnosis is delayed until stage iv prostate cancer, the odds are that the men will die of prostate cancer, although they may manage to live for a few years with aggressive treatments. The American Cancer Society estimates that twenty-nine thousand American men will die of prostate cancer during 2018.

So get tested. Get both tests, the PSA blood test and the DRE, the digital rectal examination. Neither is complicated or painful. If your doctors think it necessary, based on the PSA or DRE, get a prostate biopsy or the new MRI. Find out whether you have prostate cancer and if you do figure out the right plan to deal with it. In many cases, for many men, that is “keep an eye on it,” because prostate cancer generally moves slowly. But get tested, so you are not one of those who learns that he has prostate cancer until it is essentially too late.