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Welcome to the
March 2020 issue of the Hot SHEET
. You’ll find articles selected from the extensive worldwide literature addressing prostate cancer. I recently attended ASCO GU, a worldwide conference of researchers, physicians, pharmaceutical representatives, epidemiologists and others who are reading and publishing articles just like these. Frankly, though I have over 30 years of experience in health care, most of these articles are well above my pay grade!
My entry into the prostate cancer community began in January 2020. What could I write that might add to your knowledge and enjoyment of these articles? I’ve been a prostate cancer survivor for 11 years. I hope my reflections on this journey may be helpful to you and others. The first installment is below.
- Beau Stubblefield-Tave, Executive Director
Step 1: From PSAs and DREs to Prostate Biopsies
Prostate cancer is a personal struggle, a family affair and a community crisis. My struggle with this disease started with a high PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) score from a routine physical exam. I knew that a high PSA did NOT mean that I had prostate cancer. I’d had a DRE (Digital Rectal Exam) at the same visit and that was normal. I knew another high PSA score only increased the likelihood that I had prostate cancer. I’d been in health care for nearly three decades. I was hardly the average patient.
Still, I was scared. Barbi, my older sister, had died of breast cancer at 33 years young. The thought of facing cancer in my own body was very scary. I waited for a year, and then had a second PSA test. That result was significantly higher than the first. My doctor told me that the risk was serious enough that I should begin having prostate biopsies every six months. My first few biopsies were perfectly normal. There was no sign of cancer in my prostate.
To be continued
The diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer has advanced significantly in the 11 years since my own diagnosis and treatment. The use of active surveillance, MRI guided biopsies, and new chemotherapy agents are among the important gains. This series focuses on my personal prostate cancer journey. It will also note some of the changes since then. Finally, it will include steps you, your patients, or your loved ones might take to fight prostate cancer more effectively and appropriately.
Shalom. Salaam. Peace.