Hopefully, by now, you have noticed that September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. We went to Mitchell and met a 64 year old man who is lucky to say he is a cancer survivor.
Leroy says, "I didn't feel I had too. I was too macho for that. Nothing could happen to me. I was wrong, dead wrong. Everyone said at the age of 50 you should get checked well that went in one ear and out the other. I woke up 8 years ago."
After an elevated PSA (prostate specific antigen) blood test and 2 biopsies, Dr. Bhat discovered Leroy had stage 3 prostate cancer (that was in November of 2008). Two months later in January of 2009, Leroy opted for surgery to remove the prostate and just in the nick of time. During surgery Dr. Bhat says he found that the cancer extended to the surface of the prostate but hadn't gone into the lymph nodes yet.
Dr. Bhat says, "If he had waited longer it could have spread beyond the prostate and once it spreads to the lymph nodes it usually goes in to other organs and then it's very hard to cure."
As part of the month long campaign, Avera Health system wide is putting stickers up above urinals all over the place that say "Prostate Cancer Could Make What You Are Doing Right Now Impossible" although that is true, not always the case. Leroy didn't have any symptoms so that's why screenings and PSA tests are so important. Prostate Cancer is very treatable and curable if caught early.
Leroy says, "The bad thing is you just never know. There are probably guys out there that have stage 4 cancer. I just couldn't believe it when Dr. Bhat told me I had it. I called my brother after I got the news. He's a year younger than I am, but I told him he better go get checked. He did and had stage 2 prostate cancer. He ended up having surgery 3 days before me. I don't regret surgery one bit because I don't have cancer anymore, that's the big thing. I don't have to worry about it. A lot of guys better get checked. It sure beats the alternative."
As this retired Navy man will tell you, nothing macho about prostate cancer. Get smart and get screened.
Avera Queen of Peace is hosting a FREE PSA screening (they draw blood) at Cabela's in Mitchell on Wednesday September 30th from 5:00 to 8:00 pm. All participants will have their names entered in a drawing for a prize donated from Cabela's. Plus, you are invited to attend 3 different recreational seminars that evening that include Kinetic Golf, Fly Fishing, Gun Cleaning and Maintenance.