According to the American Cancer Society, one in six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer. Though it can be a serious disease, it can often be treated.
About a year ago, doctors diagnosed Naperville resident Roger Hendrickson with prostate cancer after finding a high level of Prostate-Specific Antigens, or PSA.
After nine weeks of radiation treatment, that level has dropped significantly.
“I would suggest to anyone watching this program, consult your doctor have an annual prostate exam, more than just a digital exam, have your PSA tested and then let the specialists take care of it,” said Hendrickson.
His radiation oncologist, Dr. Brian Moran, says he was able to take care of roger’s cancer because of it was detected early.
“In the 1980s, the majority of men that I diagnosed the disease was advanced and not curable and it already left the prostate and I remember it vividly,” said Dr. Moran. “Today, that’s a rarity and the reason for that is screenings and PSA blood tests. [They’re] still the best things we have.”
The severity of prostate cancer ranges on a spectrum from one patient to the next.
“In other words, some of these cancers are very non-aggressive and don’t need treatment whereas others can be highly aggressive and can be lethal,” said Dr. Moran.
While there’s no known cause of the disease, family medical history, high fat diet, and old age all put men at greater risk. But thanks to advancements in testing, many are diagnosed with prostate cancer before they even experience any symptoms.
“There are exciting new technologies being developed today [like] molecular markers. They’ve had them for breast cancer for quite some time to identify if a patients having more aggressive legions,” said Dr. Moran.
If the cancer stays in or near the prostate, the survival rate is 100% but if it spreads to distant lymph nodes, the bones, or other organs, the survival rate drops to 28% so catching prostate cancer early is truly life-saving as it was in Hendrickson’s case.
“The significant downturn [of the cancer] was elation and I thought ‘Holy cow a brand new lease on life and I’m not gonna miss this opportunity,’” said Hendrickson.
For more information, visit the American Cancer Society’s website, www.cancer.org.
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