Tom McIntyre Presents Special Report On Prostate Cancer

By Tom McIntyre

July 15, 2010 Updated Mar 13, 2008 at 10:50 PM CDT

Tonight, News 25 begins a series of reports on a subject that's taboo for some, uncomfortable to talk about for many, and very important for every man.

We're talking about prostate cancer.

Admittedly, it took the fact that our General Manager Mark DeSantis and weatherman Lee Ranson were both diagnosed with prostate cancer to get our attention. And we're hardly alone in that attitude.

For most men, out of sight is definitely out of mind. The prostate is a walnut-sized gland that's part of a man's reproductive system.

Unseen, unconsidered and not a topic guys talk about with each other.

Dr. John Richier with Midwest Urological Associates said, "Are men afraid?" "I think that is--like you pointed out -I think that is a big deal. One, you can't see it, you can't feel it, you don't know what's going on. It's relatively asymptomatic. And, they're in a little bit of denial that anything can happen to them."

Considering that prostate cancer is the second-most frequent type of cancer in men, it's an attitude that only now starting to change with more open talk about drugs like Viagra and Lavitra.

Still, many men wait too long to get tested for Prostate Cancer.

"Plus, I think in general, with cancer, people think they're going to know it as soon as they get it. By the time you know it, it's too far along to do much about it."

That screening takes two forms, a PSA (prostate specific antigen) blood test and a physical exam.

Experts recommend all men over fifty should get tested annually. African-American men have a much higher incidence of the disease and some recommend they get tested annually as early as the age of 40.

Let's be honest here, nobody likes getting a rectal exam.

But, the Chicago Health Department says 80% of prostate cancers are now diagnosed by way of the PSA blood test, an almost painless blood drawing which can be performed in most doctor's offices.

The message from physicians is if you're over fifty, or 45 if you are African-American or have a family history, you need to get a PSA test.

Avoiding the situation won't change the statistic that one in six American men will develop prostate cancer.

In the coming weeks, we'll have more on testing, treatment and living with prostate cancer.