Prostate cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer deaths among men in this country, at least one man dies of this disease every hour. We caught up with a farmer south of Canton who is proud he proved you can survive prostate cancer if it's caught early.
Jerry Mettler considers himself several things; a farmer, husband, grandfather and his newest title, as of February, a prostate cancer survivor. At the urging of his wife, every time he went to the doctor for an injury he got on the job on the farm, she insisted he get his PSA levels tested too.
Internist Dr. Emad Beshai with Avera Gutnik & Associates says, "We like patients to get yearly physicals so we can look for certain things. Especially for men we want to do a prostate screening every year starting at the age of 50. That involves a digital rectal exam and some blood work called a PSA. It's a marker used to see if the patient has a high risk or potential for prostate cancer. If there is a family history of prostate cancer, you should get screened earlier, as should African Americans since they are at higher risk."
From March of '07 to March of '08, Jerry Mettlers PSA levels went up significantly enough that his team at Avera McKennan urged him to get a biopsy. He did and it came back cancer.
Jerry says, "The ebb and flow of being told you have the "Big C" is an interesting dynamic when it's you."
In February, at the age of 63, Jerry opted to have his prostate gland removed through a minimally invasive robotic assisted surgery performed by Dr. Darlys Hofer. Seven months later he says he's feeling better and stronger everyday.
Jerry says, "Most farmers, most men are the same way. You don't want to know because you think what I don't know won't hurt me. BUT, if I had waited until 62 or 61 or 63 to get my baseline level (which initially I got 7, 8 years ago), I would have already had cancer. It probably was already cancerous."
The older a man gets the better the chances are of getting prostate cancer. Jerry's dad had it, so he suspected his day would come too. He says learn from this cattle farmer, don't be bull headed, get tested yearly and live.
Avera Medical Associates Clinic in Pierre
Friday Sept. 25th from 11:30-3:30
Avera Cancer Institute in Sioux Falls
Saturday Sept. 26th from 8:00-11:00
If you are between the ages of 50 and 70 and haven't been screened in the last year you should plan on going. You need to pre-register by calling 877-AT-AVERA.