Prostate Screenings Save Lives

One in six men can expect to get prostate cancer. But when it's caught early, most men beat it. Unlike the flu or a broken bone, however, prostate cancer won't let you know it's there.

Topeka urologist Dr. Mark Brandsted says it's often difficult for patients to get that point. He says they don't believe there could possibly be a problem because they don't have difficulty urinating or any pain. Typically, if it's causing symptoms, Dr. Brandsted says, it might be beyond the curable stage.

The American Cancer Society estimates about 234,000 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed in the United States this year and more than 27,000 men will die from the disease. Finding it early is the best weapon. That involves a yearly digital rectal exam and PSA blood test. It's recommended all men start at age 45 to 50 - age 40 if you're African-American or a father or brother had prostate cancer. Dr. Brandsted says when prostate cancer is found early cure rates are in the 85 to 90 percent range.

Getting the exam yearly is important, too, so doctors can look for trends. Dr. Brandsted says doctors might be suspicious about a change that would lead them to investigate it at an earlier time.

Stormont-Vail and local urologists are sponsoring free prostate cancer screenings the first week of October, but appointments are limited. To schedule yours, call Health Connections at 354-5225.


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