SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – It’s the second most common kind of cancer in men. Other than skin cancer, prostate cancer is what men are most likely to get in their lifetime.
As part of National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, a Scranton-based doctor is helping draw attention to the disease. Eyewitness News Healthbeat Reporter Mark Hiller sat down with the physician who urges early detection for successful outcomes.
The prostate, a relatively small reproductive organ in men, can potentially become a big concern. Delta Medix/Commonwealth Health Urologist Donald Preate Jr., MD said, “All men will get prostate cancer eventually if you live long enough.”
“Two years ago I was diagnosed with prostate cancer,” he told an audience.
The disease claims the lives of approximately 30,000 men each year mainly because it went undetected for too long before revealing troubling symptoms.
“Difficulty urinating, blood in the urine, kidney failure, bone pain, loss of weight. And prostate cancer, when it gets to higher stages such as stage three or four, the chance of curability or staying without symptomatology is a lot worse,” said Dr. Preate.
But prostate cancer is 99 percent treatable through early detection and screening. A blood test for protein-specific antigen or PSA is one way. Another is a digital rectal exam in which doctors use a finger to press against the side of the prostate. Dr. Preate demonstrated by using the fleshy part of his palm.
“This is normal. It should be equal and soft and gummy on both sides. And if you feel this (it) trumps the PSA.” He pressed firmly against a bony part of his thumb and said, “If you feel a rock hard, lumpy area that would be considered prostate cancer until proven otherwise.”
Rod Stewart is one of the many lucky ones. At the September 14th gala, he said, “I’m in the clear now simply because I was early, early. I caught it early. But I had so many tests and things. Guys, you’ve got to really go to the doctor.”
Dr. Preate urges men to follow women’s lead who are proactive about their health screenings. “You should not be afraid to ask questions about men’s health, prostate cancer screening. And don’t be afraid of the examinations,” he said.
Dr. Preate says the American Urological Association recommends that men get a first assessment of their prostate at age 40. Men ages 55 and older should get an annual digital rectal exam, PSA test and overall physical.