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Early Detection: A Family Issue

“I can say with absolute certainty that the PSA test saved my husband’s life”.
Marta Bristow is adamant about this point: “I want to ensure other men receive the same chance as my husband to catch prostate cancer as early as possible.”
The emphasis Marta places on each word makes clear one thing we know very well at Prostate Cancer Canada: When a man gets cancer, the disease impacts a whole family. One person’s cancer touches the lives of spouses and partners, sons and daughters, moms and dads and friends.
Considering that prostate cancer touches one in seven men, it’s also clear that just about everyone in Canada has a stake in saving lives through early detection of the disease.

Knowing what’s at stake for men and their families, Marta Bristow recently stepped forward to tell the story she shares with her husband. Hers is an eloquent voice as she relates,
“When Jason was diagnosed with an aggressive form of prostate cancer, he was only 44.”
“He had visited his general practitioner because of a totally unrelated health issue, and his doctor ordered a smattering of tests, which happened to include a PSA screening.”
It’s not just luck that Jason’s physician ordered that PSA. This doctor was alert to the possibilities in men’s health.

When Jason’s PSA results came back high, he sent him straight to a urologist, who ordered a second PSA, even though a digital rectal exam didn’t pick up any abnormalities. When that PSA remained high, the urologist ordered a biopsy and discovered Jason’s prostate cancer. It was still in Stage I, but Jason’s life was in danger.

The Gleason Score, which measures the aggressiveness of cancer, was so high the urologist sent Jason to a surgeon the following day. Jason’s prostate was removed ten days later.

“I thank God every day that my husband received that initial PSA,” says Marta. “Given the aggressiveness of the cells they found, it’s scary to think of how advanced his cancer would have been if we had not found it until it was detectable through a digital rectal exam.

“But we don’t have to worry about that because he’s nearly fully recovered from his surgery with every indication that all the cancer cells were removed during surgery.”

You can bet that Marta opposes dropping the PSA test, as proposed by the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care. She sees PSA screening as “a crucial component of early detection.” So does Prostate Cancer Canada, and we’re fighting that proposal all the way!
Posted: 2014-12-16 2:14:19 PM
Filed under: canada, cancer, prostate, PSA, story, survivor, test


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