Prostate and PSA Test

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About ten days ago I had my annual appointment with my urologist.  Yes, he stuck his finger up my butt to check my prostate.  And his nurse drew blood for the PSA test.  The digit test said my prostate was normal and I had to wait until this morning to get a call back from his office with the PSA results.  I’ll share that with you a little later.

Early this week I got my AARP Bulletin (March 2014) in the mail.  The cover headline said: “Doctors Say: Skip These Tests.”  I read the article.  The third test to skip was “PSA to screen for prostate cancer.”  Prostate cancer killed my father, so my annual trip to the urologist is of utmost importance to me. 

The key element in the article is this:  “An estimated 75 percent of tests that show high PSA levels turn out to be false alarms.”  A high PSA number may lead to unnecessary treatments.  Treatments may include surgery or radiation.  These treatments can lead to impotence, incontinence, or both.

The American Society of Clinical Oncology recommends opting out of PSA testing for men with no symptoms when they are expected to live less than ten years.  The American Urological Association supports PSA testing for men between 55 and 69.  So there you go.  Confusing?  Yep.  I admit it - I’m confused.  Who can tell you when to start the “ten years or less to live” countdown?  What if I am outside the “55 to 69” window?  How important is family history?  Should I have the PSA screening if the digital (finger up the butt) test suggests all is well?

So here is what I am going to do.  I’m putting my trust in my urologist.  I will visit him once a year and have him do both tests – digital and PSA.  Should something abnormal appear, I will discuss options with him at that point in time.

By the way, what were the results of my latest PSA?  A very low number – that’s good, for what it’s worth.

What are your experiences with prostate exams?  rChance readers would like to know.

Remember, it’s rChance to Thrive, Every Day and in Every Way. 

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