How Can We be Winning the War on Cancer When Death Rates are Rising?
The National Cancer Institute just released statistics indicating the total number of prostate cancer cases will rise by 13% from 2009 to 2010, and that prostate cancer deaths will increase a shocking 17% over the same period, with 30,050 men dying from prostate cancer by the end of 2010, up from 27,360 in 2009.
Start PSA Testing Early
Prostate cancer is pretty much untreatable once it has metastasized beyond the prostate so, based on my personal accidental diagnosis, it seems logical that a PSA test, combined with a simple patient data tracking system, would identify most prostate cancers while they are in the treatable stage.
I understand the issue of false negatives and false positives, but these numbers aren’t really that large. My thought is that men should begin PSA testing at age 35 and that they should personally track the results.
Testing early provides a baseline value. Tracking each subsequent annual value will quickly highlight any trending increase, a clear signal to visit their doctor.
Why Age 35?
Most aggressive prostate cancers tend to develop earlier, and establishing a personal test record beginning at age 35 would be a valuable tool in identifying a rising trend, often indicative of an aggressive cancer.
Women are advised to begin testing for cervical cancer at age 21 and to continue on past menopause. 21 may be too early for prostate cancer testing, but 35 seems to be a reasonable age since we really don’t have good statistics about when the aggressive prostate cancers actually develop.
So, Just Get Tested!
Guys, it really isn’t that hard. Make certain that your doctor includes the PSA test in the blood panel for your annual exam. If you don’t have an annual physical you should. If you really don’t want to do that, you can have a PSA test from an independent laboratory. Most likely the same one your doctor sends you to.
Track It or Lose It!
Once you take the test, track the results, personally. Yes, you heard me right. You need to track those results yourself. Your doctor probably has around 2,000 patients in his or her practice, and they may simply not look at your PSA test in relation to the previous year’s result. That’s what happened to me and it almost killed me.
Prostate Cancer Deaths are Rising. Don’t Become a Statistic.
As we saw in the opening paragraph, prostate cancer deaths are increasing. We don’t know what this is happening, but the PSA test is your best current tool for knowing if you are in that unlucky group.
Get a PSA test. Track the results yourself. If you see an increase, be sure and talk with your doctor as soon as possible.