Prostate Cancer Informed Decision Making Video for Patients
In this video, a group of men discuss whether they will be tested for prostate cancer.
Harvey: Alright, alright. It’s come to my attention that one of us is now officially an ‘old man’.
Milton: Hey, hey. Watch it, man.
Harvey: Seriously, Milt, Happy Birthday!
(Everyone chimes in and wishes Milton Happy Birthday.)
Milton: Thanks, guys. It’s gonna be a good year.
Chris: Oh yeah, what you got planned – a trip down to the old folks home?
Bill: Is that before or after your tee time?
Doc: You and Linda going to take your annual trip to Europe?
Milton: Yeah, if I pass all my tests. We’re thinking about taking the grandkids along.
Chris: Tests? Wait, they have SATs for old age?
Milton: Nah man, gotta do my annual physical at the doctor’s office next week. Supposed to be a good one – blood pressure, cholesterol, colon and prostate.
Harvey: Dude, we’re eating. No talk of colons and prostates please.
Bill: Aw, man. You don’t want to think about the old “glove up” test?
Chris: I’ll pass thanks.
Harvey: Here we go guys, Doc’s gonna educate us.
Milton: Actually, Doc – I want to hear what you have to say. I was reading something the other day that says I may not even have to get tested for prostate cancer.
Doc: Well, the reality is that there are some tests that you should definitely have when you hit a certain age. These include things like cholesterol tests and screening tests for colon cancer. But it turns out that prostate cancer testing is not one of those automatic, “no-brainer” tests.
Harvey: Hold up – why is prostate cancer different? I thought catching cancer early was always a good thing.
Milton: What I was reading says some of the research around prostate cancer screening shows that finding prostate cancer early can lower the chance for some guys of dying from the disease. But research also shows that this isn’t the case for all guys.
Doc: Well the thing is, not all prostate cancers are the same. Some grow really fast and can spread to other parts of the body and cause men a lot of problems or even kill them. But, many prostate cancers grow really slowly. As a matter of fact, they grow so slowly that most men who have these slow growers would never be harmed by their cancer, and indeed would probably never know that had it if they didn’t get screened. One big problem is - the tests we use to look for prostate cancer can’t always identify which prostate cancers are fast growing and which are slow growing. So sometimes guys get treatment for slow growing prostate cancer that doesn’t help them at all, and can often cause them some problems.
Harvey: Yeah, I’ve heard that treatment can cause some side effects. Not sure I’d want to do all that if it was slow growing and probably not going to hurt me.
Chris: Shoot man, I wouldn’t care about the side effects. If they find cancer anywhere, I want it out.
Doc: That’s why the American Cancer Society recommends you learn about the good and the bad aspects of testing for prostate cancer, then talk to your doctor and decide if testing is the right thing for you. A lot of guys are like you, Chris and want to find out if they have a problem and treat it no matter what. But there are other guys like you Harvey who believe that if we don’t know if the test is definitely gonna be a good thing for them they don’t want to deal with it.
Bill: Hmm. Did you guys know they found prostate cancer on my exam last year?
Milton: Dang man. Why didn’t you say anything?
Bill: Well, based on my test results it looks like I have one of those slow-growing prostate cancers. I talked with my doctor, and we agreed that there was no need to rush into getting some kind of treatment. So we’re just going to monitor things for now. I get regular exams and blood tests, and if anything changes I can consider starting treatment then.
Harvey: Glad you’re alright.
Chris: Me too. Guys, I know I got a prostate – but well, it’s kinda like my appendix. I know I got one of them too, but I have no idea what it does and how it can get cancer.
Doc: Well, the prostate is a gland that sits at the base of your bladder, and it makes the fluids that men use during sex. As far as prostate cancer, that occurs when cells in the prostate gland start to grow out of control and crowd out and starve normal prostate cells. These out of control cells can also spread to other parts of the body and cause damage. The main risk for getting prostate cancer is age, and the longer you live the higher your risk. The chance of prostate cancer is also higher for African American men and for those who had a dad or brother with prostate cancer.
Chris: So how many guys are actually diagnosed with prostate cancer?
Doc: Right now, about 17 out of 100 guys aged 50 will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime. About 3 out of 100 guys aged 50 will die from prostate cancer.
Chris: Hmm. Are there symptoms?
Doc: Early prostate cancer often doesn’t have any symptoms. But if you have trouble getting your urine flow started, have to get up frequently at night to go, have pain when you go or have blood in your urine, call your doctor and get it checked out.
Milton: Bill, I’m thinking I’m going to at least get tested. Since you’re an old pro, what can I expect for my test?
Bill: Ah, it isn’t that bad. You know there are 2 tests. The blood test is the most important, and if you’re only gonna have one test that’s the one you should have. It’s easy enough – they measure for PSA.
Doc: That’s Prostate Specific Antigen, not Public Service Announcement…
Bill: A regular comedian here….Anyway, they see how much of it is in your blood. The other test is the ole gloved finger in the back side.
Doc: That’s the only way your doctor can actually feel your prostate gland to see if it has a normal size and shape. That test can find some cancers that the blood test may miss – but if you just can’t deal with the idea of having that finger …. well, the blood test alone still works pretty well.
Harvey: Sounds like the bottom line is to talk to your doctor and decide whether testing for prostate cancer is right for you.
Milton: The bottom line. Really man?
Harvey: Alright, alright.
Milton: I think I’m go ahead and get tested. Doc, if the test is normal can I quit worrying about prostate cancer from now on?
Doc: If you decide you wanna be tested you have the best chance of finding cancer early if you get the test done every year or two. And Harvey, man, if you’ve decided that testing isn’t right for you right now you should probably revisit your decision every year or two to see if there is any kind of new research or changes in your family history that might lead you to change your mind.
Harvey: Makes sense. Well good luck Milt.
Milton: Thanks, guys.
Bill: Hey, did you see that catch the other night?
For more information about prostate cancer call 800.227.2345 or visit cancer.org.