Annual tests for prostate cancer still a good idea for older men

A big, big dart to the Advocate for this article. I can just visualize men all over Central Alberta glancing up from their evening papers and saying to their wives, “See that prostate exam you want me to go to.

Re. the Associated Press article published in the Red Deer Advocate recently, under the headline Scrap annual prostrate tests, doctors say:

A big, big dart to the Advocate for this article.

I can just visualize men all over Central Alberta glancing up from their evening papers and saying to their wives, “See that prostate exam you want me to go to. These doctors here say it’s no good” and smiling to themselves knowing they dodged another bullet.

Big mistake!

Unfortunately, the article said not one word about the other test that is used in concert with PSA tests and that is the digital rectal exam — the test men really don’t want to go for.

That is the test that every man should get yearly.

With the technology and medical tests available today, no man should ever be diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer.

As a man who has been dealing with aggressive prostate cancer for the past 10 years, since I was 50, I can say that without the PSA determining the extent of the disease, and then receiving appropriate treatment, the cancer would have prevailed long ago.

Also, at the stage I am at now, it is the PSA test that indicates if and when I need additional treatment.

The article is correct that the PSA test is not infallible, that a rise can be due to other factors but, at this point in time, it is the only test we have that is a preliminary indicator.

The comparison of an original base-line test with a later test will demonstrate the velocity of the PSA, which is a gauge of the seriousness of the problem.

There have been very significant advances in prostate cancer treatment over the past 10 years and I believe that with more research, there will be many more advances.

Some day, there will be a definitive test for prostate cancer and that is my hope and prayer for my son and grandson.

Also, just for the information of men and women who want to talk to other men and women who are dealing with the disease at one stage or another, there is a Prostate Cancer Support Group that meets in Red Deer at Gaetz United Church every third Thursday at 7:30 p.m..

Bill Birse

Red Deer

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