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Behind the Headlines-16

Us TOO FLORENCE - BEHIND THE HEADLINES
BY BOB HORNEY - PROSTATE CANCER SURVIVOR - Us TOO CHAPTER LEADER
(Published November 12, 2014, The Siuslaw News)


First of all, I want to express my sincere appreciation to Cindy Wobbe for her Guest Viewpoint in this column last month. Cindy wrote that piece after attending the Florence City Council meeting at which Mayor Nola Xavier proclaimed September as Prostate Cancer Awareness Month in Florence. She sent it to her selected email recipients and one, the wife of a prostate cancer survivor, forwarded it to me with the comment, "You should know this has been received by many people." Cindy's email subject was: "A personal message from my heart..."
I only had to read it once to realize Cindy's message needed to be my October Behind the headlines in the Siuslaw News. Having watched her father refuse to see a doctor about health issues and then die of prostate cancer, Cindy had a great message for the men who don't want to get checked. Unfortunately, a dominant message men hear is anti-screening for prostate cancer. Plus, everything we hear about screening, diagnosing and treating prostate cancer is about the "man." You know..."he" will be over-diagnosed and over-treated, incontinent (wear diapers for the rest of his life) and impotent (kiss his sex life goodbye) all for a cancer that would likely never kill him.
Cindy's message, pointing out her family's pain and suffering at the loss of her father, is definitely needed. Our expert naysayers certainly wouldn't want anyone to mess up their cold statistics with something as important as the impact prostate cancer deaths have on family members. It takes those family members, like Cindy, stepping up and making sure men understand that there is more to prostate cancer than risks of incontinence and impotence...namely family.
We know that prostate cancer has to be diagnosed with a needle biopsy of the prostate. Men can get to that point by two means; either as a result of screening with the PSA blood test and digital rectal exam (DRE) or as the result of seeing a urologist due to symptoms. In the case of prostate cancer, we know that waiting for symptoms to wake us up is waiting too late for a cure which was Cindy's message. It needs to be diagnosed while we are feeling great and even that doesn't guarantee a cure.
That message came home loud and clear this year as we lost 62 year old Rob Worley and 56 year old Tim Daugherty. Both men were diagnosed with no symptoms, Rob at age 49 and Tim at age 52. Because prostate cancer can grow silently for 8-10 years before noticeable symptoms arise, use of PSA/DRE screening has saved many lives.
It is partly because of this silent growth that Us TOO Florence suggests men get a PSA baseline at age 40. That one number, along with other risk factors, will help the urologist determine future screening frequency to diagnose prostate cancer early, prior to developing symptoms.
Another reason we support a baseline PSA at age 40 is because we have unwavering confidence and trust in the urologists at Oregon Urology Institute (OUI). That confidence and trust has been built on 10 years of Dr. Bryan Mehlhaff's attendance at our Us TOO Florence evening meetings and 3 years with Dr. Doug Hoff's attendance at our lunch meetings. We know that an elevated PSA at age 40 can mean a higher risk of prostate cancer up to 20-30 years later. It is to a man's benefit to have that information in the hands of a urologist at OUI.
Anyone who is uncertain about being tested and would like more information, please attend either of our meetings and discuss your concerns with a urologist. Come with questions - leave with answers - at no charge, an unbeatable deal.

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