Aside from non-melanoma skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men in the United States. It is also one of the leading causes of cancer death among men of all races and Hispanic origin populations.
In 2010 (the most recent year numbers are available)—
- 196,038 men in the United States were diagnosed with prostate cancer.*†
- 28,560 men in the United States died from prostate cancer.*†
*Incidence counts cover about 97% of the U.S. population; death counts cover about 100% of the U.S. population. Use caution when comparing incidence and death counts.
This is a type of cancer that can go undetected for many, many years. I wanted to take a moment and stray from my normal, albeit lacking, posts of fitness and pinterest to address a more serious issue. Here is the story of my husband’s diagnosis with prostate cancer:
First let me start by letting you know why we went to the urologist to begin with. My husband has a history of passing kidney stones. Not that big of a deal, but they’ve caused him quite a bit of pain in the past. He explained this to his primary care doctor and was given a referral to a urologist here in Miami to follow up. They did his annual exam of his prostate and said it felt firm but nothing to be concerned about. We held on to the referral for a few months until he thought he was passing another stone. Something told him to use the referral and just get checked out.
He came home that day to tell me that they too said it felt firm and decided to run is PSA level. PSA stands for Prostate Specific Antigen and I highly recommend to all you men if you are getting your yearly exam, as for a PSA blood test, takes 2 sec and could save your life. The doctor told him his PSA was 2.1, which was very high for a guy of 44 years of age. He offered us two options: Option 1, biopsy just to be sure. Option 2 was to repeat the PSA test in 6 months and see if it had changed. We opted for the biopsy. We don’t like to take chances. On February 6th we returned to the doctor for the results of the biopsy test. We were headed to Jacksonville that evening. The biopsy was positive for cancer. 2 of the 14 samples they took came back positive. Since we had a week between the biopsy and the results, we had pretty much prepared for this kind of news. In fact, at this point, the doctor looked more upset than we did.
After we received the news, then began the scheduling of all of his appointments. He was going to need blood work, chest x-ray, urinalysis, all the good stuff to clear him for surgery. The surgery was booked for March 19th and they would use the Davinci Robot for the surgery. For you guys out there, I want to let you know that neither the biopsy nor the cystoscopy are NOT pleasant procedures for you to go through. No matter what anyone says, no many should have to have those things inserted into those areas for any reason. As his wife, I was allowed in the room for both procedures. I’ve learned more than I thought I could about the male urinary tract system, that’s for sure!
His surgery went very well. Took about 90 min from start to finish. Doctor came out and told us he took two lymphnodes to test because they were a bit enlarged. It was my husband’s first surgery ever so I was concerned how he would respond to it all. They had a drain in which was taken out the next day and he went home with the catheter for about a week after. I spent the night with him in the hospital and while it was hard to watch him just laying there in so much pain, I’m glad I was afforded the opportunity to not have to leave his side. We came home the next day and unfortunately that night was not a good one. We called an ambulance because the pain from his bladder spasms was so bad he was shaking. After giving him the Tylenol with codeine he felt a bit better.
We slept on the couch the entire week he had the catheter. Before his surgery we went couch shopping just for the occasion. We bought a couch that reclined on each end and that was instrumental to his recovery that week. The hardest part was getting him to get up and walk around. They pump them so full of gas for the surgery, that the only way to expel it is to move. Well I imagine walking around with a catheter inside is uncomfortable, but it’s the only way to feel better.
It has since been almost a month since the surgery and while he is still passing clots, he is feeling better as each day passes. The final pathology report was 1% of the gland was cancer, 5mm tumor. All margins clear. I could not have asked for better results. This man is my life, my soul mate. It took me 30 years to find him and the thought of losing him was absolutely earth shattering. I truly feel blessed that we caught it so early and that he is making a full recovery, for I’d be lost without this man.
I want this post to serve as awareness to all men who read it. This is a cancer that has a very high survivability rate, if caught early enough. Please, get your yearly exam done and always be aware of what your body tells you. Please feel free to comment or ask questions if you’ve found yourself with this diagnosis. Not only will I try to answer the best I can, I have a few forums where the guys have been extremely helpful in answering any and all questions.