As time has gone by, and I’ve had the chance to hear about or talk with those who haven’t caught it early, and heard about some of the challenges (incontinence, impotence, and nausea) they’ve had to deal with, I’m truly grateful that I spent time in the military where being poked and prodded on an annual basis was a fact of life. The result was that going to the doctor was just something I did.
A brief history on PSA progression. This will differ by individual, but as an adult, my PSA seemed to cruise along at about 1.5, so I wasn’t terribly concerned when in a physical it was around 2.0, however, because of that annual exam, the Dr. detected a slight irregularity on my prostate. He wasn’t terribly concerned, but thought it would be a good idea to see a Urologist.
In meeting with the Urologist, he reran the PSA, with the same results, confirmed the irregularity, and suggested that we monitor it every 6 months. So 6 months later, when the Dr. reran my PSA, it had almost quadrupled. At that point he took a biopsy an confirmed cancer. At that point we began the treatment process.
The following is the various stages of Prostate Cancer from Jordan Valley Medical Center:
- Prostate Cancer Stage I
In stage I, prostate cancer is found in the prostate only. Stage I prostate cancer is microscopic; it can’t be felt on a digital rectal exam (DRE), and it isn’t seen on imaging of the prostate.
- Prostate Cancer Stage II
In stage II, the tumor has grown inside the prostate but hasn’t extended beyond it.
- Prostate Cancer Stage III
Stage III prostate cancer has spread outside the prostate, but only just. Prostate cancer in stage III may involve nearby tissues, like the seminal vesicles.
- Prostate Cancer Stage IV
In stage IV, the cancer has spread (metastasized) outside the prostate to other tissues. Stage IV prostate cancer commonly spreads to lymph nodes, the bones, liver, or lungs.
I was fortunate to be in stage I or early stage II, which meant that I had more time to consider treatment options.
So, don’t ever fore go the annual exams, they may be a pain in the “but” however, they are literally life savers. My PSA is now below 1.0 and dropping, so with two more tests, I should be declared “Cancer Free“.