Many debates currently surround prostate cancer, including how to treat it. Statistically it is still a top cancer killer.
Dick Devlin is not the first to face this diagnosis.
“I was 62, my PSA was rising, I went to Dr. Daller who did a biopsy and diagnosed me with prostate cancer, early stage,” says Devlin.
Each year, 200,000 men in this country learn they have prostate cancer. They face the common dilemma of what to do next.
“For most men, prostate cancer, even though it has that word ‘cancer’ in it, is not something that’s gonna kill them,” says Devlin.
Devlin’s health was of utmost importance, but he wasn’t convinced he needed cancer treatment. Studies show a growing number of men with low-risk prostate cancer are choosing to watch and wait.
“We like to call it active surveillance. We watch these patients very carefully. We watch their PSA, we watch their prostate examination. From time to time, we do a serial trans-rectal ultrasound biopsy, essentially sampling of the prostate,” says Dr. Meir Daller, a urologist on Lee Memorial Health System's medical staff.
A new study shows active surveillance is beneficial in the right situation. In a test group the mortality rate was one percent. And only a third of patients needed additional treatment after three years. The key component is choosing the right patient.
“My job is really to give them as much information as possible. And I always tell them take your time. There is no rush. The more information you get, the better off you are,” says Dr. Daller.
So Devlin took an active role in his cancer care and believes it was the right choice for him.
“I had six total biopsies, it’s been seven years and nothing’s happened,” says Devlin.