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PSA - Sooner Rather than Later: September 03, 2011

To walk in Bruce Waters shoes is to carry a heavy load.

“It started out with my knees, and my ankle joints were so sore that I could hardly walk with crutches and cane.”

Bruce thought he might have arthritis, he was wrong. A blood test revealed he had advanced prostate cancer.

“Your PSA runs like 1 or 2 points, 3 points and mine was at 238, so a high Class 3 from 1 to 4 a Class 3.”

The PSA, or Prostate Specific Antigen is the most common test for prostate cancer. It’s a blood test that measures a protein found in seminal fluid.

“Men that have prostate cancer may have up to ten times more of this this protein or antigen than the normal man,” says Dr. Jasper Rizzo, a board certified urologist with the medical staff of Lee Memorial Health System.

The test is quick and painless, but many men, like Bruce, don’t get it and miss the opportunity for early detection and treatment.

“It’s very difficult especially when a lot of these guys will come in and they’re otherwise healthy and that’s one of the reasons that they haven’t seen a physician is because they really don’t have any medical problems,” says Dr. Rizzo.

“When I found out the cancer has already come out of my prostate and already in to my blood stream and attached to the bones, I eliminated two thirds of the treatments I could’ve had,” says Bruce.

Bruce’s options are limited. Dr. Rizzo’s office started him on a hormone therapy they hope will put him into remission. His story might be much different if he was tested earlier.

“Prostate cancer is not a death sentence, but the earlier you treat it in any age groups the earlier you pick it up and you get to make all the decisions, the better chance you have,” says Dr. Rizzo.

While he focuses on his fight, Bruce wishes to motivate others to check their PSA and avoid his battle.
“It started with a simple blood test.”