Why the PSA Test is Important for Senior Men

Jul 28th, 2010 | By | Category: Senior Moments Blog

Good News… no sign of cancer almost three years out, said the urologist as he gave me my report.  The result of quick action, a professional and competent team, careful watchfulness and a successful surgery.  If anyone wishes to know why we promote frequent, at least annual PSA tests, visits to your urologist, this is the rationale.  Don’t delay, don’t wait, don’t assume, don’t rationalize. 

Our experience was such that a notable medical institution did the test and found my PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) reading at 5.2, but chose to ignore it.  My general practitioner was smarter than this internationally acclaimed medical factory.  He picked up on the test and sent me galloping to my local urologist.  He was on the money, when he called my spouse, giving her the report (“very aggressive prostate cancer”) and suggesting quick action.  From there we were, within days, in the urologist’s office in Scottsdale.  He would read the reports.  His urgent advice was to schedule surgery for removal of the prostate within 30 days.  It was that serious and aggressive.  No fooling around.  No “watchful waiting”.  No other delaying actions.  No excuses.  No other options.

Now, I know why.  The physician has pointed out, with emphatic insistence, any delay would likely have meant one course:  a painful  death in my early 70’s.  Not an outcome worth considering.  There are side effects, to be sure.  But, by now, I have become to accomodate them, because I know what the consequences could have been.  It feels good to know that I am free and clear.  It is a moment of gratitude and celebration when we are told that there is no indicator of any cancer in my system.  It is also helpful that we did not argue the point or challenge the wisdom of the physicians along the way, except the one who missed the import of the situation altogether.  In such cases, second opinions are like gold.  Don’t hesitate.  Don’t assume anything.  It is, after all, only your life that is in the balance.

Emphasis cannot be strongly enough gven for men and their partners to keep the need for regular check ups for the prostate on a front burner.  It is a critical priority, just as breast examinations are critical to a woman’s health.  Part of the partnering role is to be nurturing and nudging of one another to stay current with those tests that can head off enormous anxiety and potential heartache later.  About the side effects, they are worth it, if you are still  relatively healthy and alive.  Colleagues, among my male friends, who have experienced the same surgery all attest that they are glad they took the course of action they took.  They have not all been in agreement to go the route of radical surgery, but they believe their choice was the right one for them.  I know our choice was the right one for me.  

So, best unsolicited advice is:  Call now for an appointment for a PSA test.  Mark on your calendar the reminder to see your urologist

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