7/3/2013 9:38:00 AM Rural Jeffers man touts the importance of annual PSA tests
When Charlie Grant of rural Jeffers heard recent national media reports downplaying the importance of annual PSA tests, he was disgusted.
The reports said that too many false positives on PSA tests have made the test an unreliable source for monitoring the possibility of prostate cancer.
You'll never convince him of that.
Indeed, Grant is living proof that a PSA test is still the easiest and, as far as he's concerned, the most reliable way to catch prostate cancer at an early stage.
"Get a PSA regardless of what the news media tells you," Grant says. "My surgeon said, 'If you have any boys, they should get a PSA test 10 years sooner than you did, just as a baseline.' "
Grant had annual PSA tests for more than a decade and with each test, the PSA score began to climb - 1.0 to 1.6 to 2.1 - until 2008 when the score went from 2.6 (0 to 4.0 is normal) one year to 5.2 the next. Meanwhile, he had no other symptoms of prostate cancer, such as frequent urination.
Grant had biopsies done that confirmed he had a moderate-growing prostate cancer. Because he was just 61 years old when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer, his doctor suggested surgery to remove the prostate.
The surgery was done in 2009, but his bout with cancer wasn't over. At the time of the surgery, his doctor said that there was an indication that cancer may have spread outside the prostate.
"I think we knew that eventually, I would have to have radiation, because the night of the surgery he said one of the margins was positive," Charlie says. "But there's only so much tissue they can take out."
Sure enough, two years later, his PSA was registering a score even though his prostate had been removed, a sure sign that cancer was present.
So, in 2011, Charlie received 38 days of radiation treatments - five days a week from January to March - in Mankato.
"It was just routine. It was 15 minutes and you visit with a few people in the waiting room. You see them every day because they were there at 9 o'clock and I was there at 9:15."
When the radiation treatments were completed, Grant returned to Mankato for checkups every three months. Those checkups have now been extended to every six months and, "everything's been fine," Grant confirms.
"The doctor told me from day one, 'You're not going to die from this. We've got lots of options. But at 61, you're too young to ignore it,' " Charlie recalls.
For more on Charlie's story, see the article on the Faith & Family page in the July 3 issue of the Cottonwood County Citizen on newsstands today.