Let's face it men generally are bad about going to the doctor. Especially when they know it will involve a rectal exam. But maybe this will persuade you, there will be more than 215,000 new cases of prostate cancer this year. The exam.. the prognosis... the survivor... is this Avera Medical Minute.
As the Dean of the College of Education and Counseling at SDSU, Dr. Howard Smith fully expects to have some work to do at home. He was also not surprised when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer last November. Both his both his father and grandfather had it.
Dr. Howard Smith says, "I had all kinds of fears going on inside of me. I think every guy wonders can I really stand the pain. It's a macho thing. But on a scale of 1 to 10. 1 being negligible 10 being I can't stand it. It never got above a 3 in any of it. It was uncomfortable. That's the best way to describe it but not painful." The 67 year old decided on radical surgery to remove his prostate. Dr. Smith says, "A lesson I learned from my father and I learned it well: Do it. Do it right. Do it right now."
Dr. Matthew Witte with Urology Specialists in Sioux Falls says, as with any cancer, the key to successful treatment is early detection. Men should start getting screened annually at the age of 50. If there is family history or you are African American you should start at age 40. Dr Witte says, " The screening is fairly simple. It involves two things, a simple blood test for PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) test and we feel the prostate. It's pretty straight forward and tolerated very well."
Nine months after surgery Dr. Smith says he's still not 100% but he's getting there. He laughs, "I'm not a pup. It ain't my first rodeo. I've been around the block a few times."
Avera is sponsoring a free prostate screening on Saturday Morning Sept. 8th from 8:00 to 11:00 at the Avera Cancer Institute. Because of limited space they are asking that only men ages 50 to 70 who have not been screened in the last year participate. Call 877-at-AVERA to register. Also check out www.averamckennan.org