Bobby’s Story: Why Cancer Screening is Important

Are You Losing Sleep Over Apnea?
July 27, 2015
Moving Past Breast Cancer
September 15, 2015

Bobby Bond, an Opelika native who underwent a robotic prostatectomy in 2013, is an advocate of preventative care concerning his health. By getting regular prostate screenings and yearly physical exams, Bond’s physician was able to diagnose his prostate cancer in the early stages. According to the American Cancer Society, prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in American men.

“I have always been good about getting my yearly physicals and prostate exams,” Bond says. “It has been a priority to me and I’m blessed that my prostate cancer was found in the early stages. I have a history of cancer in my family, which made me more proactive about getting screened.”

Bond began getting regular PSA (prostate-specific antigen) tests in his 40s. The PSA test measures the level of PSA in a man’s blood. The blood level of PSA is often elevated in men with prostate cancer. Bond’s PSA levels spiked unusually after a few years of being regularly tested, which led to his physician recommending a biopsy. The results of the biopsy determined that Bond had cancer in his prostate.

Bond was treated by Dr. Rishi Rajan, a urologist with East Alabama Urology Associates. “After I was diagnosed, Dr. Rajan discussed my options with me and after speaking with him and my family, I decided to undergo a robotic prostatectomy,” Bond explains. “Everything went well and I recovered completely. I had no pain and minimal side effects; I did not even fill my pain prescription after the surgery because I felt I didn’t need it. Now, I stay active by working in my yard, exercising at the gym, line dancing with my wife, and I am able to do everything that I did before I had the surgery.”

Dr. Rajan explains that there are many different treatment options if you are diagnosed with prostate cancer including radiation, surgery and even observation. “Many options are available for treatment, including observation, known as active surveillance, which is becoming a very viable option for patients with prostate cancer,” Dr. Rajan says. “Not every prostate cancer needs to be treated. It can still be a very dangerous disease, but some prostate cancers are very low grade and can be observed before taking a more invasive action. Based on the results of a biopsy, your physician will determine if your cancer is aggressive or non-aggressive and what your treatment options are.”

According to the updated guidelines set by the American Urological Association (AUA), prostate cancer screenings should begin at the age of 55 for otherwise healthy men. “African American men or anyone who has a family history of prostate cancer should strongly consider getting a PSA test before the age of 55,” Dr. Rajan explains. “However, for otherwise healthy men, we recommend following the standards set by the AUA.”

“I now understand, even more than before, how important it is to get screened,” Bond says. “I’m very blessed to have been completely cured and I hope that I serve as an example to other men and a reminder to talk to your doctor about getting screened for prostate cancer—don’t wait!”

 

Facts About Prostate Cancer:

  • According to the American Cancer Society, approximately one man in seven will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime.
  • Prostate cancer occurs mainly in older men. About six cases in 10 are diagnosed in men aged 65 or older, and it is rare before age 40. The average age at the time of diagnosis is about 66.
  • Prostate cancer can be a serious disease, but most men diagnosed with prostate cancer do not die from it. In fact, more than 2.9 million men in the United States who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point are still alive today.

 

Signs and Symptoms:

Early prostate cancer usually causes no symptoms. But more advanced prostate cancers can sometimes cause symptoms, such as:

  • Problems passing urine, including a slow or weak urinary stream or the need to urinate more often, especially at night.
  • Blood in the urine;
  • Trouble getting an erection (erectile dysfunction).
  • Pain in the hips, back (spine), chest (ribs), or other areas from cancer that has spread to bones.
  • Weakness or numbness in the legs or feet, or even loss of bladder or bowel control from cancer pressing on the spinal cord.
  • Other conditions can also cause many of these same symptoms. But it is important to tell your doctor if you have any of these problems so that the cause can be found and treated, if needed.