Prostate Cancer: Informed Decision Making for Patients [Video]
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 says “Happy Birthday”)
Milton: Thanks, guys. It’s gonna be a great year. (Everyone chimes in and wishes Milton Happy Birthday.)
Chris: Oh yeah, what you got planned – a trip down to the old folks home?
Bill: Is that before or after your tea time?
Doc: No, really. Are you and Linda going to take your regular trip to Europe?
Milton: Well, if I pass all my tests. Actually, we’re thinking about taking the grandkids along.
Chris: Tests? Wait, they have SATs for old age?
Milton: There you go. No man, I got my annual physical next week at my doctor’s office. Supposed to be a good one – we're gonna do blood pressure, cholesterol, colon and prostate.
Harvey: Dude, we’re eating. No talk of prostates and colons please.
Bill: Aw, come on man. You don’t want to think about the old “glove up” test?
Chris: I’ll pass thanks.
Doc: Actually guys…
Harvey: Here we go guys, Doctor's gonna educate us.
Doc: Well, the reality is that there are some tests that you definitely want to have when you hit a certain age, but it turns out that prostate cancer testing doesn't necessarily fall into that automatic no-brainer category.
Harvey: Hold up – well why is prostate cancer different? I thought catching cancer early was always a good thing.
Doc: Well, the deal is that prostate cancer is not just one disease. Not all prostate cancers are the same. Some prostate cancers grow very fast and can spread and cause a lot of harm and even kill men. But other prostate cancers grow very slowly and those slow growing cancers may not ever harm that man. As a matter of fact, if he didn’t have that screening, he’d never know he had cancer. The big challenge is that the tests we use to look for prostate cancer don’t always tell us if it’s a fast grower or a slow grower. So a lot of men end up being diagnosed with those slow growing cancers and they end up with unnecessary treatment. And treatment can have some complications.
Harvey: Don’t know if I’d want to go through all that. You know if it was slow growing and probably wouldn’t do me any harm.
Chris: Shoot, I wouldn’t care about side effects. If they find cancer anywhere, I want it out.
Doc: Well, and that’s exactly why the American Cancer Society recommends that men learn everything they can about both the good and the bad aspects of prostate cancer screening and then make a decision along with their doctor about what’s best for them.
Bill: Did you know they found prostate cancer on my exam last year?
Milton: What? Dang man. Why didn’t you say something?
Bill: Well, look based on my test results it looks like I just have the slow-growing prostate cancer. So my doctor and I agreed that we wouldn’t rush into any sort of treatment. So we’re just monitoring it right now.
Harvey: Glad you’re ok.
Chris: Hey, look guys, you know, I know I got a prostate but, it’s kinda like my appendix. I know I have one of them too, but I have no idea what it does or how it can get cancer.
Doc: The prostate gland sits at the base of your bladder and it makes the fluids that men use during sex. The main risk for getting prostate cancer is age. The older you get the greater your risk of getting the disease. But also being African American increases your risk or if you have a father or a brother who has prostate cancer, your risk is higher also.
Chris: So how many guys are actually diagnosed with prostate cancer?
Doc: Well, if you look at 100 men who are 50 right now, about 17 of those men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer over the rest of their life. But only about 3 out of those 100 men are gonna die of prostate cancer.
Chris: Are there any symptoms?
Doc: Well, early prostate cancer actually doesn’t have any symptoms. But you can find men who have problems either passing their urine, getting it started or stopped. Men might have to start getting up a lot during the night. Sometimes you can have pain with urination or blood in the urine. If you’re having any of those kinds of symptoms, you need to call your doctor and get in and get checked right away.
Milton: Well Bill, I’m thinking I’m going to at least get tested. Now since you’re an old pro, what can I expect from my test?
Bill: Ah, it’s not that bad really. You know there’s 2 tests. The blood test is the most important one, so if you’re gonna get one, that’s the test you wanna get. It’s pretty easy. They just measure your PSA.
Doc: That’s Prostate Specific Antigen, not Public Service Announcement.
Bill: We got a regular comedian over here, huh? They just see how much of it is in your blood. The other way is the ole gloved finger in the back side.
Doc: For a lot of men, they just can’t get over the idea of having that finger test, so if you’re only gonna have one test the blood test alone actually works pretty well.
Harvey: Sounds like the bottom line is, 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: Well, look Doc I’m thinking I’m gonna get tested. Now if it comes back normal, does that mean I can quit worrying about prostate cancer from now on?
Doc: Well, the best way to find the disease early, if you’re gonna be tested is you need to get retested every year or two. And even for someone like Chris, who may decide they don’t want to get tested right now, you need to revisit that decision sometime in the future. Things change. There’s new science that develops, or you might have a family member who is diagnosed with prostate cancer and that might push you in a new direction. So think about it.
Harvey: Makes sense. Well, good luck Milt.
Milton: Hey, thanks guys.
Bill: And by the way, you guys get that catch the other night? Did you see that?
Milton: Aww, man!
(closes out with random conversation)
For more information about prostate cancer call 800.227.2345 or visit cancer.org.