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One in 38 men will die from prostate cancer, which may not sound significant as a statistic when you first hear it, but it holds very significant meaning if this happened to someone you loved.
Lisa Kindel just lost her father, Merlin R. Kindel on October 12. Lisa said that he died nine days short of his 74th birthday and less than two months shy of his 20th wedding anniversary.
According to Lisa, her father's death could have been avoided.
"I lost my dad because some damn doctor told him he didn't need a PSA test," she wrote to A Plus.
PSA stands for Prostate-Specific Antigen, which is a common blood test to determine if you have prostate cancer. Men over 50 typically get screened. Even though he was 73, his doctor didn't screen him until it was too late.
Merlin was diagnosed with prostate cancer less than a year before his death. After months of treatment and radiation, he was in hospice.
"At the end, Dad turned yellow," Lisa wrote to A Plus. "As his kidneys shut down, the bilirubin colored him a neon shade of yellow that glowed where the whites of his eyes used to be. You never want to see a human turn that shade of yellow."
When Merlin was first diagnosed with prostate cancer, he sent this email to his family in December 2014:
I need to get in touch with each of you and email doesn't seem very personal but it does facilitate contacting everyone at the same time with the same message. The message is that I have prostate cancer. Still hard for me to wrap my mind around, mostly because I feel as good as ever with one exception: urination is frequent and urgent. To some extent this is normal for older guys like me and it is known as BPH (enlarged prostate) but unfortunately the symptoms are pretty much the same for prostate cancer.
Not thinking cancer at all I went to the doctor late August to check it out. He gave me a PSA check (draw blood and analyze) and the PSA came back rather high. He set me up with a urologist in Lexington and that progressed to a prostate biopsy (you don't want to know how that is done) which came back positive. Then I got a CT scan and bone scan. This isn't a wait and see item so I have chosen to have it treated at Radiotherapy Clinics of Georgia (known as RCOG) in Decatur. Our friend Earl Clark, had this situation about 3 years ago and was extremely impressed with them. I found 2 other men I know had also been treated there and gave it unreserved endorsements. In fact there has been about 28 men from Berea that have gone there for treatment. Since RCOG began they have treated over 15,000 men from all 50 states and 40 foreign countries with maybe the highest success rate in the country.
Therefore I am set up to have the radioactive seeds implanted (you don't want to know how that is done, either) on Dec. 18 but we have associated appointments the 2 days before. Following this is a 3-week wait and then I start radiation treatments for about 8 weeks so I will know the road to Decatur rather well. By the time I finish I will glow in the dark!
The last part of his email is something that every guy should read:
Now here is your take away from this. If you are a man, or know a man 50 or older tell him to GET A PSA CHECK AT LEAST ONCE A YEAR! It is quick, easy, painless and cheap and there is no excuse for not getting it. Then get your results and track them year-to-year. If it starts up then have it checked out, probably by a urologist doing a biopsy. If your doctor tells you that is not necessary, tell him to go jump in a lake! Apparently the government guidelines are lax in this area but my urologist, RCOG, and the American Cancer Society are all very adamant that the PSA needs to be checked every year. Mine didn't for 3 years.