Hi, I am a 38 year old african american male who has recently undergone a(3 1/2 weeks ago) Nerve Sparing Retropubic Radical Prostatectomy performed at Johns Hopkins/Brady Urological Institute in Baltimore,MD.
I was hoping to create more awareness for this very common type of cancer that grows slowly in men and can easily be detected by a simple blood test. Over 218,000 men in the United States will be diagnosed this year with this form of cancer-second only to Melanoma (skin cancer).
All men are at risk as we age but African American men have a higher risk factor for the disease. The ONLY reason I went to get my PSA checked is because my father was diagnosed the previous year. Doctors recommend that men in the high risk categories start getting an annual PSA and DRE (Digital Rectal Exam) at the age of 40.
When I got my PSA test back,the numbers were elevated so I was referred to a specialist in Urology. I was put on antibiotics for 10 days and told to have the test re-done.
The numbers came down but not to a normal reading. The next step was a Prostate Biopsy to take actual samples of the Prostate and have them checked by a Pathologist for their cellular structure. This is the surest way to know if cancer is present or not.
I was diagnosed with Early Stage Prostate Cancer/ T1c. All of the doctors I talked to strongly recommended the Radical Prostatectomy to remove the prostate/cancer completely and in "effect" curing me. I wasn't expecting to have to make this decision this early in my life if ever. In fact,I never really knew anything about prostate cancer. It's funny how when something happens to you or someone close to you,suddenly,you become a member in a club that you didn't want to join.
You also become very educated about the subject that has wreaked havoc on you and your family's life. It's so true when people say "Knowledge is Power". My wife and I researched and read all things available on the subject itself and on the doctors who dedicated their careers to fighting this type of cancer.
I urge all who read this, whether it be man,woman or child; Make sure that special man in your life gets his PSA test done when he hits his late 30s. As long as the cancer is caught early ( as with most cancers) the survival rate is very high.
Alot of men stick their head in the sand because of the awkwardness of the DRE. To this I say: "Isn't seeing your child grow up or seeing your grandchildren worth it?"
Please contact me if you have ANY questions or concerns about this blog. We really need to get the word out on this form of cancer and if I can help just 1 person; it would be worth it.
Thanks for taking the time to read my blog.