Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Big St. Louis fans....

St. Louis and Pittsburgh have a few things in common. Both are with rivers, are gateway cities, and top Medical Centers with universities. My wife is at UPMC and a friend is in St. Louis. He is suffering the wrath of the Bo-Sox 3 game lead in the World Series, but also has shared some insights into his health and makes some strong, first-person suggestions on having more aggressive wellness.

See the comments of this post for Hints on Diagnosing Prostate Cancer, by Michael Valente. He is glad it might help someone else. He also writes to say he looks forward to seeing the end of my misery with my beloved Cardinals!

What's preventable and what's inevitable -- humm. Life, science and shifting borders.

1 comment:

Mark Rauterkus said...

Hints on Diagnosing Prostate Cancer

As you know, I was recently diagnosed with prostate cancer, but it would have never been detected at this early stage if I would have gone with conventional wisdom. Here are my experiences:

The range of normal for the PSA, nationally, is 0-4.0. Unfortunately, it has been shown that if you have a PSA of between 2.5 and 4.0 there is about a 20-25% chance that you may have prostate cancer. So, my first suggestion is that you monitor your PSA annually.

My second recommendation is to take action if your PSA is 2.5 or higher. Do not wait till it goes past 4.0. Also, find yourself a forward and aggressive thinking Urologist. I was fortunate to find such a person.

The usual next step with an elevated PSA is an office biopsy of the prostate. This procedure has a horrible reputation as being painful and discomforting, but from my experience it really wasn't all that terrible. It's completed under local anesthesia and takes about 10-15 minutes. In this procedure, the physician takes about 10-15 "cores", or samples, of your prostate and sends them to pathology to determine if cancer is present.

You need to be aware that a negative biopsy does not guarantee that you do not have prostate cancer because I'm told that this procedure can miss about 11% of prostate cancers. For me, the office biopsy did not indicate the presence of cancer.

There is a relatively new procedure, not performed in many places, called a "saturated biopsy." This is done under general anesthesia (i.e., in the OR) and the physician will take anywhere from about 30-60 "cores" depending upon the size and shape of your prostate. It was this procedure that found cancer in one of the cores. If I had not requested to go through this latter procedure, I would have thought I was safe from prostate cancer and it could have continued to grow.

Thus, here are my suggestions for finding prostate cancer at its earliest:

Have your first PSA at 50 and repeat every year to monitor any changes in the PSA. There are some who are recommending a PSA as early as 40 years of age.

If your PSA is 2.5-4.0 do not accept the interpretation that it's normal. Demand either a repeat PSA (there are many things that can cause the PSA to rise and is not related to cancer) or an office biopsy.

I would even consider suggesting to your physician a referral to a urologist for a saturated biopsy because in about 11% of the cases the ├Čtraditional├« office biopsy will not detect the presence of the cancer.

That's it! I hope this information can be used by you, your father, husband, uncle, etc to detect prostate cancer at its earliest stages when it is the most treatable. If this information can save one life, then the time taken to compose and forward it has been well worth the time.

Original source, a big St. Louis Cardinal fan and professional friend of my wife in the field of Audiology, Michael Valente, Ph.D. Professor of Clinical Otolaryngology, Director of Adult Audiology, Washington University School of Medicine