Cool Guys Wear Gowns: How the dreaded prostate exam can save your life

Cool Guys Wear Gowns: How the dreaded prostate exam can save your life
Published: Jun. 22, 2018 at 2:54 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 22, 2018 at 2:55 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - "When they mention cancer with your name in the same sentence, it takes you up to a whole other level," said prostate cancer survivor Miles Lynn.

Miles Lynn remembers all too well when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer about 8 years ago.

"Floored," Lynn said. "And that's one of the things that for my wife and myself it absolutely took us by surprise."

Lynn says he'd gone to the doctor because of symptoms he was having. The doctor suggested he take a prostate specific antigen or PSA test. The results indicated he had a high PSA level which can be an indicator of prostate cancer.

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A biopsy confirmed the cancer, and Lynn readied himself for a battle.

"You have to mount your horse and fight this thing to the hilt to make sure you're still with us," Lynn said.

He was having regular tests done as well as prostate exams and this still crept up on him. Urologist, Dr. Robert Nelson says regular exams are so crucial.  They should happen once a year starting at age 50, even sooner for African Americans who are at higher risk.

"A simple blood test and exam in the office with your primary care doctor or the urologist has proven to pick up early disease and treatable disease," Dr. Robert Nelson said. "The overwhelming majority of men diagnosed with prostate cancer are treated."

Dr. Nelson says common symptoms can be a weak urination stream and frequent trips to the bathroom throughout the night. But he cautions, an enlarged prostate  - which may not be cancerous - has the same symptoms.

"Prostate cancer doesn't cause any of these symptoms until it's very advanced and then it can mimic symptoms of benign enlargement but that's usually when treatment is exceedingly difficult," Dr. Nelson said.

If you are diagnosed there are treatment options the top one being surgery and radiation which these days is minimally invasive.

"With the robotic surgery, there's Divinci small incisions there's less bleeding, less pain and a quicker recovery on multiple fronts," Nelson said.

Lynn opted to have his prostate removed altogether, followed by radiation.

Dr. Nelson addressed a couple top concerns for men when it comes to prostate health. The main one - many worry that prostate cancer treatment will affect their sexual ability.

"It doesn't go hand in hand that having surgery you lose your sex life, that's just not the case anymore," Dr. Nelson said.

Then, on the prevention side, many men dread the exam itself. Dr. Nelson says just do it, it can save your life.

Lynn echoes the same thing. In fact, he's part of a support group for men battling the disease called the Prostate Cancer Educational Institute of Virginia. It promotes getting regular exams.

"Don't be afraid, go do the right thing and get yourself checked out," Lynn said. "There's life after prostate cancer."

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