PROSTATE CANCER: When men should have PSA screenings - WECT, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

PROSTATE CANCER: When men should have PSA screenings

PSA screenings (Source: NBC News) PSA screenings (Source: NBC News)

Larry Wolfe was enjoying life in his 40s. He got his regular prostate cancer screenings since cancer ran in his family. Then, at 45, in 2011, his doctor noticed his prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels were going up.

"That was when he referred me to a urologist to have a biopsy done and that's when they found it," Larry said.

His doctor described it as a medium aggressive prostate cancer. He underwent chemotherapy and radiation. But his journey with cancer was not over.

"They say if you make it five years, you're cancer free and I made it four years and three months," Larry said with disappointment.

His cancer is back and he is currently undergoing treatment.

But he credits his PSA screenings with saving his life.

"I had no symptoms whatsoever. my cancer was a -- when they did my surgery the first time -- it was a stage two medium aggressive cancer. The doctor told me had we not discovered it for five years, we'd be having a very different conversation."

CDC and other top national agencies follow the lead of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, which recommends against PSA-based screening for men who do not have symptoms.

"I think the push against screening is an understandable response to the fact that many men with screening-detected prostate cancer probably don't need treatment and get it anyway," says Dr. Mike Papagikos of Coastal Carolina Radiation Oncology. "That 'over treatment' problem is now being corrected by inducing an under-diagnosis problem.

The five-year survival rate for prostate cancer is 95 percent, according to the American Cancer Society.

Dr. Papagikos said men just need to me more aware of their family history and have more conversations with their doctors.

"What I would want men to take away from this is what they're basically saying is the idea that every man gets a PSA every year without a conversation--without discussing the pros or the cons looking at age or family history or looking at health, you should probably stop doing that," he said. "What it does encourage is that sometimes as young as 40 to have a conversation if they have a history, if they are African American men to start having these conversations at 45."

As for Larry's prognosis, he feeling optimistic.

"I'm still running five miles once a week and I still workout three times a week," Larry said with a smile. "I told the guy who trains me I'm going to workout until I can't do it anymore."

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