September is National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, it’s a time to raise awareness about prostate cancer and emphasize how important it is to get screened. Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in men, and one in eight men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime. “It’s a very serious form of cancer, and it’s important that men get screened when necessary,” said Urologic Surgeon Nicholas Hopson, D.O.
One of Dr. Hopson’s patients knows firsthand how crucial getting the appropriate tests and treatment can be. Les Gonyer, a 69-year-old man with a family history of prostate cancer, had an annual PSA test, a blood test that measures the amount of prostate-specific antigen to screen for prostate cancer. When his results came back slightly elevated, his primary care physician referred him to Dr. Hopson.
After imaging, Les had a biopsy during which they took 12 tissue samples from different areas of the prostate. “It wasn’t very pleasant, but it was tolerable,” Les said. “Six of the 12 samples had cancerous cells.” The type of cancer detected wasn’t an aggressive type, but because both his father and brother had both had prostate cancer, Les opted for a prostatectomy, a surgical procedure that removes the prostate.
“The robotic surgery is less invasive, so Les only needed to spend one night in the hospital before he could go home,” said Dr. Hopson. “Then he needed to take it easy for about a week. It also helped that he’s in good shape and takes care of himself.”
Prostatectomy is one of the treatment options available to patients with prostate cancer. Depending on the stage and grade of the cancer, as well as age, health and other factors, treatment options may also include chemotherapy, external radiation therapy and brachytherapy.
“The most important thing I could say is to make sure that you’re staying active and healthy, and that you’re seeing your doctor and getting all your tests done,” Les said. “Detecting things like this early can save your life.”