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PSA tests can help detect prostate cancer

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by Michele Catahay

Guam - With September being National Prostate Cancer Month, the Guam Healthcare and Hospital Development Foundation is taking an active step to encourage men to get a PSA test by starting outreach efforts for the cause.  Prostate-Specific Antigen is a protein produced by cells of the prostate gland.

A PSA test measures the level of PSA in the blood, which could detect prostate cancer. Foundation board member Jun Espaldon says the number of prostate cancer across the nation is growing, telling KUAM News, "We further learned that prostate cancer is the second highest cancer amongst men and is also the second lead of cancer deaths of men in our country. For 2010 alone, it is estimated that there will be almost 220,000 new detections and unfortunately, over 32,000 deaths related to prostate cancer in the USA."

Espaldon says early detection by getting a PSA test can save someone's life. When diagnosed with prostate cancer a number of years ago, Jim Brooks says men should get tested because prostate cancer is a detectable and treatable ailment.  "I was fortunate that I had a physician, Dr. Gabe Lombard, who saw a noticeable climb in my PSA reading and immediately referred me to Guam Radiology for a biopsy. I was fortunate to get to Cedars-Sinai in California to seek radiation treatment," he said.

Foundation chairman Peter Sgro found out three months ago that the test and a biopsy determined that he was at early stage one of prostate cancer.  "I'm scheduled to have surgery in January because it was caught so early. I would hate to guess what would happen to my life if my family or those who are important to me, if I had never had that PSA test, I would've never had to ask the doctor the next question."

FHP oncologist Dr. Arnold Wax says family members should encourage their loved ones to get tested right away, saying, "Men have to be like women. They have to be their own advocates of getting their cancer screening done. Women are aggressive in getting their screening done. It's just as easy as it is for a women to come in and ask her doctor to do a mammogram in a yearly basis, it's just as easy for a man to go to his doctor and do a PSA on a regular basis."

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