Prostate Screening Is A Must! Here’s Why

My friend Alan ended his 4 year battle with prostate cancer, and I started my war to engage Black men and make them know the importance of prostate cancer screening. Though Alan and I have been friends for 30 years, when he got cancer, we formed an even more special bond. As a Stage 3A Survivor of Triple Negative Breast Cancer, I know my purpose is to talk about breast health. I am now adding prostate screenings to my stump speech.

At age 55, Alan had a prostate cancer screening test, the PSA. It was normal. Two years later, it had inched up to the top of the normal range. Although he was getting annual physicals, his Caucasian, very well regarded internist in their very affluent suburban town told him that PSA testing was not reliable (this is not true!), he didn’t recommend them.

Life went on, a very good life, full of love, laughter, dancing, a blossoming family. Alan led an exceptionally physically fit lifestyle. He had been a disciplined runner since he was in his 30’s and engaged in other types of fitness activities such as lifting weights and tennis.

Following his 70th birthday celebration, he had a visit from his brother-in-law who was being treated for prostate cancer. When brought to Alan’s attention, he realized that he was having some symptoms (changes in urination). Alan’s wife, Yvonne, then insisted he bypass his internist, and they went to a local urologist who told him his PSA was 149.9, shockingly high. Because of the high number, he sought the best care possible and ended up with the Chief of Urology for a major NY hospital. His PSA just 3 weeks later registered at 180. Stage 3B prostate cancer was the diagnosis, which began a path of treatment. He started with Lupron, 10 weeks of radiation, 5 days a week, driving from his home in Ridgewood to Manhattan and then to his office in Morristown, NJ, to work all day as a Chief Investment Officer, a grueling daily regime.