Friday, Nov. 28, 2014
Beating the Odds
Taskforce shortsighted on PSA tests says PCCN president
Submitted by Dale Erickson, PCCN Chwk/Voice file
was deeply disappointed by the guidelines released a short time ago by the Canadian Taskforce for Preventative Healthcare recommending against the prostate specific antigen (PSA) test to screen for prostate cancer. I firmly believe that the PSA test saved my life, and if these guidelines had been around a few years ago, I might not be here to write this letter.
Personally, I am very happy that my former employer insisted that I have a PSA test as part of my annual medical after the age of 45. When I was working, my results were normal. After retirement I thought that it would be a good idea to continue this as part of my annual checkup. Within a few years my GP advised me that my PSA had doubled in two years and even though it was just under 7, that it was cause for concern and he recommended a biopsy.
The biopsy revealed 3 samples of cancer, so then I could decide what I wanted to do. I chose a radical prostatectomy and happily 8 years later everything is just fine. At the same time that I retired, a co-worker from Manitoba also retired, but was a typical macho man, who felt that he was healthy, played tennis, golf and didnít think that he needed a regular checkup. 10 years later when he was not feeling well, he had some tests and his PSA was over 400! By then the cancer that had started in his prostate, had metastasized to his bones, lungs and even his brain and within two months he passed away.
Prostate cancer doesnít always have symptoms, or doesnít show signs until the disease had advanced and there are fewer treatment options. To have the best possible outcomes and greatest treatment options, early detection is key to successful treatment. If not the PSA test, then what alternative test will allow men to know their risk of prostate cancer and plan their course of action? The PSA test may not be perfect but it is the best test available to men today.
If the Task Force had seen fit to involve survivors, I only wish that their recommendations would not have been so short-sighted.
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