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Behind the Headlines-29

Us TOO Florence
Behind the Headlines
BY BOB HORNEY - PROSTATE CANCER SURVIVOR - Us TOO CHAPTER LEADER
(Published October 12, 2016, The Siuslaw News)

September was National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, reopening an annual remembrance of the dads, husbands, grandfathers, brothers, uncles, friends, neighbors and other loved ones who have been taken from us by this deadly disease.
Even though we are told most prostate cancers will not harm a man during his lifetime, the following words were part of Phil Brubaker's 2007 Mayor's Proclamation of Prostate Cancer Awareness Month in the City of Florence:
WHEREAS, across the nation, prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in men and the second leading cause of cancer death, and WHEREAS about 30 percent of prostate cancer occurs in men under the age of 65, during their prime years at work, and WHEREAS, at any age prostate cancer devastates families, through loss of income, partnership and support, and WHEREAS, prostate cancer leaves too many parents, women, children and other family members without a man they love.
Here we are nine years later and those statistics have not changed. From the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) we get the following figures, updated to 2016:
Three Most Common Cancers Among Men per 100,000: Prostate cancer (101.6); Lung cancer (69.8); Colorectal cancer (44.2).
Leading Causes of Cancer Death Among Men per 100,000: Lung cancer (53.9); Prostate cancer (19.2); Colorectal cancer (17.3).
Three groups come to mind that find these statistics to be vivid and sad reminders of reality - the families of men who lost their lives to prostate cancer; urologists who didn't get to see the men until it was an incurable disease and members of Us TOO Florence Prostate Cancer Education and Support Group who became friends with these men and supported them in every way possible, but to no avail. In the vast majority of cases, everyone came away with the same feeling...if only...each man had been diagnosed earlier.
Fact: The most treatable and curable prostate cancer is diagnosed before it causes symptoms. In other words, before we even think something might be wrong. Knowing that means we must go looking for it while relatively young (around 40 years of age). That doesn't register very well with lots of men because at that age they feel great. However, a primary reason over 2 million men are alive today following a prostate cancer diagnosis is because their cancer was diagnosed before spreading beyond the prostate. This is most often due to the man, his family and/or his doctor being pro-active about prostate cancer screening.
Here is something for men, and their loved ones, to consider if the USPSTF recommendation that men no longer get PSA tests makes sense to them: Three of the most recent deaths from prostate cancer in our community have been men who were diagnosed and died of the disease much too young...diagnosed at 49/died at 62; diagnosed at 52/died at 56; diagnosed at 47/died at 56. The first two young men were diagnosed following their very first PSA test. The third was refused a PSA test several times from the age of 40 to the time of his diagnosis at age 47. None of these young men went for a PSA test because of symptoms of the disease. Yet, they were struck down in their prime of life by a supposed "old man's disease." Had they lived to a reasonable 80 years of age, their families, respectively, would have enjoyed 18, 24 and 24 additional years of loving companionship.
The deaths of these 3 young men shall not be in vain as Us TOO Florence, in their honor, recommits its strong support of life-saving PSA baseline screening at age 40! One's greatest opportunity to get it right with prostate cancer is to find it in its early stages. Thanks to the baseline PSA test and the urologists at Oregon Urology Institute, we have an excellent chance to catch it early...if...we take the first step and get that one all-important PSA test. Yes, we're talking about a single PSA test having the potential to make a life-saving difference.

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