Thursday, September 5, 2013

National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month Sept 2013

I never knew that September is National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month until a year after I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Fortunately, I’ve had yearly PSA tests and yearly rectal exams for more than a decade. I must confess at the time I thought it was a waste of time, money, and a whole lot of discomfort to be checked every year since I never considered it possible that I’d end up with prostate cancer. I wonder if most men who are diagnosed with prostate cancer are as shocked as I was when I received the news.

For most of us who get this news, our prior experiences with cancer will have a huge effect on how we receive this news and how we will react as well. Unfortunately for me, I’ve had experience as a medical social worker and my wife has experience as an Oncology nurse. The both of us have witnessed many people die of cancer related illnesses.

The words came to my mind when I was told I had cancer. Those were pain, suffering and death. I wanted every single cancer cell out of my body as soon as possible. Since I’m a high tech fan the idea of robotic surgery appealed to me. I had no idea how surgery changes your life forever.  That said, knowing what I know today, I’d do the same thing.

Not every man feels that way. Here’s what a man wrote on a prostate cancer support forum after his surgery:
I found out I had PC Feb. 2011. May 9 2011 I under went a radical prostectomy. Worst decision I ever made. 2 years later I still suffer from the side effects of the surgery. My life has change forever. I'll never be the same again. I am in a deep depression and forever will be. I would NOT suggest surgery to anyone. There are other alternatives to consider. Please don't make the same mistake I did.

This man is in serious psychological pain and believes his life was ruined forever, even though he’s been cured of prostate cancer.  I can’t stress this enough, if you’ve been diagnosed with prostate cancer take your time, do your research and decide whether or not aggressive treatment is necessary. Many men do very well with active surveillance and dietary changes.

One in six men will receive the diagnosis of prostate cancer. This is a very treatable disease when it is diagnosed early. Therefore it’s important for every man over fifty, (age forty if prostate cancer runs in your family) to get both a PSA test and a digital rectal exam yearly. In honor of National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month if you are over fifty make an appointment, get your PSA and the digital rectal exam. The life you save may be your own.

If you want more information about prostate cancer and/or robotic surgery visit my website at:
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