Health Team

Controversial prostate screening still helps some patients

Posted October 3, 2012

John Mitchell, 52, has always believed in regular health checkups.

Five years ago, his doctor only noticed one possible health concern.

“He said, well your PSA number is elevated,” Mitchell said. “And of course, I didn't really know what a PSA number was.”

It led to a biopsy, which confirmed cancer in his prostate.

As an African-American man living in the South, his risk was twice as high as most men.

“I don't think that I would be here today if the screening was not available to me,” Mitchell said.

mitchell Controversial prostate screening still helps some patients

Dr. Pete Hoffman, a radiation oncologist with Rex Healthcare, said. “We do know that prostate cancer screening has saved lives over the years, and it's especially important in the high risk group. High risk groups also include all men with a strong family history, especially when they have a father or brother diagnosed while less than 60 to 65 years of age.”

Hoffman says not all men should be screened.

“We probably don't need to screen people who have lots of medical issues that may be more life threatening than prostate cancer,” he said. “And over the age of 75, depending on that man's health.”

Mitchell chose surgery to remove the prostate and radiation to kill remaining cancer cells. For him, he says, knowledge is power.

“If you have prostate cancer and you don't catch it, the results are not good,” he said.


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  • xyzzy Oct 8, 2012

    I had a first-time PSA at age 51. The number was high, and biopsy confirmed cancer. Surgery indicate that the tumor had just started to leave the prostate. This was six years ago. My tumor had no symptoms. I'd been dead (or dying) by now, if I had not had the PSA test.

  • bichonman Oct 8, 2012

    My PSA levels continually come back high. I had a biopsy in my urologist's office and it showed no cancer. For the next year it was still high on each exam. I had an outpatient biopsy performed which was more in depth. The tests came back fine and I am simply one who has a high reading. Get your prostate exams-you don't want to wait to long.

  • Taffy Oct 8, 2012

    My husband had a PSA last year. Came back very high.He had no symptoms & the physical exam didn't show anything.He had a biopsy done & the doctor even said then, he didn't think there was any cancer. But surprise, the biopsy showed 2 types of prostate cancer. A slow growing & an agressive cancer. Needless to say, he pursued options to remove the cancer as he was only in his early sixties. Untreated the agressive cancer would have killed him. Why take the chance.

  • bobbieevans Oct 5, 2012

    My brother died of prostate cancer that was found at stage 4 on his first PSA at age 50. I think some groups should be screened earlier, he drove a truck for many years, I understand to contributes, but if screened a few years earlier, his life may have been saved. PSA over 1500 and cancer in bones at age 50.

  • beef Oct 4, 2012

    Men have to fight for these tests. The insurance I have pays for 5 different screening tests for women, and 1 for men. PSA testing is controversial because only men get it, and prostate cancer normally kills only after a man has reached the age where he is no longer paying taxes and bringing home the dough. They do not just want to stop paying for it (a whopping $15) and procedures that might result (biopsies, prostatectomies), they want to ban it entirely. I guess there are already too many men living beyond thier useful lives.

  • GLOCKMASTER Oct 3, 2012

    BTW....I'm only 47.

  • GLOCKMASTER Oct 3, 2012

    I was recently diagnosed with prostate cancer after my PSA screening came back moderately high during a routine physical. Two years ago my PSA level was normal. I'm a firm believer that test is necessary during physicals and if a doctor tells you it's not then I would suggest finding another doctor.