What I've discovered about prostate cancer

What I've discovered about prostate cancer

Prostate cancer affects exclusively men, mostly those over 50, and those of African descent.

I'm one of the lucky few who gets yearly physicals and studies the results.

As a former nuclear worker whose colleague had prostate cancer, I was always fixated on my PSA.

Test PSA measures prostate-specific antigen in the blood to check for prostate cancer.

PSA is a protein generated by both malignant and non-cancerous prostate tissues, a tiny gland that sits below the bladder in males and produces seminal fluid to aid sperm ejaculation.

A high PSA level may indicate prostate cancer, prostatitis, or benign prostate enlargement.

Alarmed, I got myself checked by my neighborhood doctor using an ultra-sound gadget; my prostate wasn't enlarged, but the doctor noted that I had pee retention – the bladder wasn't totally empty when I used the toilet – but stated that my PSA number was typical for my age – over 70 years.

She suggested I see a urologist to check for benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), or prostate gland enlargement, a common problem among older men.

Symptoms An enlarged prostate might cause urinary symptoms like blocked urine flow.

After various tests, the urologist prescribed me medicine to improve urine flow. The next year, my PSA value went to 9.6 ng/ml; my urologist had said he would 'watchful wait' until the result neared or crossed 10 ng/ml.

So I had a prostate biopsy and MRI scan. Doctors assign a prostate cancer patient a Gleason score to determine its severity.

So I had a prostate biopsy and MRI scan.