Each year in September, which is my birth month, I started having my physical and urological examinations. In 1984, when I had my yearly urological examination, my urologist thought he felt a growth on my prostate from the DRE. He recommended that I have an ultrasound and a biopsy so that he could visualize the entire prostate gland with ultrasound waves and remove pieces of prostate tissue for microscopic analysis to ascertain if any cancer was present. Fortunately, he did not find any cancerous cells, but asked me to make sure I had my DRE and PSA examination each year to keep a check on it.
In 1986, I left my original urologist because I felt as though I was not getting any personal attention and I was just another patient. This urologist was a department chairperson, with a large practice and most times I was seen by one of his medical residents. After researching and gathering information on other urologists, I ended up at my employer's hospital, Temple University. I was able to get an appointment with the department chairperson, whom I found to be just what the doctor ordered, a doctor with a personality and the personal touch.
In 1990, my PSA moved up to 2.5, which was still in the so-called normal range up to 4.0. If the range was above 4.0, you needed further diagnosis. My urologist asked me not to be concerned and to keep having my examinations yearly in order to keep track of my PSA level.
In September of 1994, I went to an American Cancer Society's prostate cancer screening to have my DRE and PSA test examination. The PSA screening test came back at 4.5 and I was told to see my urologist for further analysis. Because of a stringent work schedule, which required my immediate attention, I was unable to go to see my urologist immediately. In January 1995, I made the appointment and went to see my urologist. This was 4 months after I was given the notification that my PSA had moved to a level of 4.5, which was two points higher from the previous year's PSA reading. I gave him the results of the screening that was taken in September 1994. He immediately gave me a DRE and had my blood drawn for a PSA screening, and within 10 days he received the PSA results. The PSA count had moved from a 4.5 level to a 6.0. He recommended that I come in for an ultrasound and biopsy examination procedure, which I consented to have done.
In consultation with my urologist, he informed me that I would have some discomfort during the procedure. During the procedure, it was stated to me that there were some areas around my prostate in question and a biopsy would also be performed. Over the next 10 days, I was hoping that the test would come back with good results. My urologist called me with the results, and informed me that he had good news and bad news. I asked for the bad news first. They found cancer in my prostate gland. The good news was that the cancer was located inside the prostate gland and in a well-defined grouping.
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