This year alone, nearly a quarter-million American men will develop prostate cancer. But for every new case there are still those living with the disease undiagnosed. So getting screened should be every man's priority.
Prostate cancer has been passed down from one Phil Dohn to the next and being the eighth of his name, this Phil has made sure he stays on top of the disease.
"And it's an aggressive type and so when that PSA number moves you have to address it!" Said Dohn.
A slightly elevated PSA tipped off doctors to Phil's very early stage prostate cancer. A diagnosis that typically doesn't happen.
"Unfortunately a lot of guys wait or don't talk early enough with their doctors about the benefits of screening for prostate cancer and end up having it picked up later." Said Dr. Michael Peterson, a radiation oncologist at the Avera Sacred Heart Cancer Center.
Thanks to the early detection and new technology, Phil's cancer was very treatable and could all be done right here in Yankton.
"His radiation treatment is called intensity modulated radiation therapy." Said Dr. Peterson.
"It's sort of like 37 sun-tanning sessions." Added Dohn.
"It is very precise and it wraps the dose right around the area that we need to treat very very nicely so it's radiating a lot less normal tissue and people do a lot better as far as not having serious side effects from the radiation treatment." Said Dr. Peterson.
Had those 37 treatments been done in Sioux Falls it would have racked almost 6,000 miles on Phil's odometer; not to mention the hotel bills. Instead Phil could stay at home, log a mere 400 miles, and focus on healing.
"The reassurance from the radiation techs back there, I mean, it was like I had my own two guardian angels! Sister Doris you were right there are angels in this world!" Said Dohn.
Any cancer is a crushing diagnosis but getting checked doesn't have to be painful. Most men are scared off by the thought of the gloved and somewhat invasive digital exam.
"But even just having a PSA test alone is a lot better than having no idea whether you are harboring prostate cancer." Said Dr. Peterson.
For Phil, he sees those prostate exams as the male equivalent of a mammogram. A simple screening every man should do for the woman they love.
"She is doing it because she cares about me and the PSA I feel the male should just reverse that role and if you care about your spouse and your descendants, keep a quality of life to you as long as you can and we will wait for our destiny to come!" Said Dohn.
Phil may be done with his treatments but he's still on the journey.
"I just feel blessed that my condition was monitored and caught in time and if I had to come back for something else I wouldn't hesitate and if a family member needed help in this area here is where we will come." Said Dohn.
He wasn't the first Phil Dohn to have prostate cancer, but he's sure hoping through care and prevention he's the last.
For patients that qualify for assistance, the Avera Sacred Heart Cancer Center does shuttle patients to and from treatments to ensure they are getting the care they need. For more information about cancer treatment just call 877-AT-AVERA.