Bob Hazzard's enjoyed a long life with his wife, Betty. He hopes to enjoy many more years thanks to regular checkups. That's included an annual prostate screening. But a few months after his last test, he had some bladder problems, and was shocked to learn what it was.
In just a short time, he'd developed prostate cancer. Bob said he was so upset by the news, he thought it was the end and he needed to get his affairs in order.
Because Bob was so diligent, that won't be necessary.
Topeka urologist Dr. Mark Bransted says if prostate cancer is caught when it's small and confined to the gland, the cure rate is upward of 80-percent. If it's larger and spreading, the odds are greatly reduced. The only way to catch it is with screening. In general, Dr. Bransted says, if you're feeling symptoms, it's probably not at an early stage.
Both a physical exam and blood test are recommended for all men over the age of fifty. Those at higher risk - African-American men or those with a family history - should start screenings by age 45.
Because his cancer was found so early, Bob's just getting close monitoring for now. He says he's proof of how vital screening is.
"It can save a lot of lives," he said.
Stormont-Vail and local urologists are offering free prostate screenings Sept. 26 through 30. It takes just 20 minutes, and all you have to do is call for an appointment, (785) 354-5225.