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Dr. David Samadi: NC Senator Thom Tillis Prostate Cancer Diagnosis a Reminder To Get Regular PSA Checks

Senator Thom Tillis

PSA screening can save your life, know what your psa is and get a second opinion. Thom Tillis was found to have prostate cancer due to screening.

Senator Thom Tillis is diagnosed with prostate cancer and is schedule to undergo surgery for early treatment of his cancer.”
— Dr. David Samadi
NEW YORK, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES, April 7, 2021 / -- North Carolina Republican Senator Thom Tillis, 60, announced Monday that he has been diagnosed with prostate cancer and will undergo surgery sometime next week. His prognosis is considered “good” as his cancer has been found “relatively early.” Tillis also stated, “I had no symptoms and would have never imagined I had cancer. I went to my annual physical and received a PSA test, which led to a biopsy and eventually my diagnosis.”

I wish Senator Tillis the very best of luck in fighting this disease and in making a full and complete recovery.
As a urologist, expert in treating prostate cancer and as a prostate cancer surgeon, this announcement by the Senator is both a reminder and warning to men to schedule annual checkups with their doctor. Prostate cancer can be a silent killer and is not just a disease of “old age.”

As Senator Tillis so eloquently spoke, “I am blessed that my cancer was detected relatively early, and I can’t emphasize enough how important routine screenings are, regardless of how healthy you think you are.”

I want to thank Senator Tillis for crediting routine screening like the prostate specific antigen (PSA) test that proved to be valuable for catching early on his symptomless prostate cancer. Too many men often avoid routine checkups which can prove to be an unwise medical decision. Senator Tillis’s message is a priceless reminder for all men that annual physicals make a difference. As early as age 40, men should begin discussions with their healthcare provider about prostate health and prostate cancer screening risks and benefits.

I recommend a baseline diagnostic PSA test at around age forty. This blood test can determine a man’s risk of developing prostate cancer, and depending on the baseline number, as well as family history and other lifestyle factors, can determine how often a man needs the test going forward.

Prostate cancer and the PSA test
Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death of U.S. men, behind lung cancer, with one in eight men who will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime, according to the American Cancer Society. If diagnosed and treated early, the five-year survival rate is almost 100 percent.

Every man wants to believe that being symptom-free means cancer-free. Not so with prostate cancer. It tends to have an asymptomatic nature which is why Senator Tillis was caught off-guard and why having his annual physical found it early. While some men will be symptom-free, other men may have urinary-type symptoms that mimic benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). These symptoms may include burning or pain when urinating or difficulty urinating.

This is why the diagnostic screening of having a PSA test can be a literal lifesaver.

Here’s some background on the PSA test: Although PSA is found mostly in semen, very small amounts are released into the bloodstream. Prostate cancer can cause more PSA to be released than normal, even though there can be other noncancer-related factors for an elevated PSA. To obtain PSA, a blood sample drawn from the arm is sent to a lab to measure the amount of PSA produced. To interpret the PSA number, a man’s doctor will take into account all past PSA readings and compare them with any updated PSA test looking for changes over time. If the PSA numbers are trending upward, this might indicate prostate cancer. But there are other factors that can contribute to a man’s rising PSA including age, ethnicity, and family history of the disease.

If a PSA blood test results come back abnormal, or if the PSA has risen to a level indicating prostate cancer, then a prostate biopsy may be recommended. This is exactly what Senator Tillis’s doctors did and which ultimately determined the presence of the disease.

If the biopsy results come back indicating prostate cancer, a man’s doctor will be his most valuable asset in helping determine the best treatment option. Every man is different with different needs and there is no one solution that’s ideal for every man. Senator Tillis has opted to have surgery for his prostate cancer but not every man will require this treatment.

Bottom line, early detection saves lives. It’s been my mantra for all men everywhere and will continue to be my biggest ally in inspiring men to get their annual physical, see a urologist for urinary symptoms, and get a PSA test. There’s no doubt that prostate cancer is more likely to be cured when found early.

Dr. David Samadi is the Director of Men’s Health and Urologic Oncology at St. Francis Hospital in Long Island. He’s a renowned and highly successful board certified Urologic Oncologist Expert and Robotic Surgeon in New York City, regarded as one of the leading prostate surgeons in the U.S., with a vast expertise in prostate cancer treatment and Robotic-Assisted Laparoscopic Prostatectomy.

Dr. Samadi is a medical contributor to NewsMax TV and is also the author of The Ultimate MANual, Dr. Samadi’s Guide to Men’s Health and Wellness, available online both on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Visit Dr. Samadi’s websites at robotic oncology and prostate cancer 911.

David Samadi
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