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Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer among men; only some skin cancers are more rampant.
In 2009, it caused an estimated 27,360 deaths — long, slow, embattled deaths, as the cancer spread beyond men's prostates to nearby bones, notably their spines.
(Lower your chances of becoming a stat with these eight steps to prevent prostate cancer.) Once the cancer advances past your prostate, you have only a 30 percent chance of surviving 5 years.
But catch it early, before the cancer cells escape, and your chance of surviving 5 years is 100 percent.
He sat there grinning apologetically as he held up one gloved and well-lubricated index finger and asked me to bend over a chair.
Then he stuck his finger up my ass and pushed on my prostate like it was a doorbell on Halloween night. I put it off repeatedly until the night, months later, when I met the person I later called, only half jokingly, the Angel on the Train.
They all underwent a prostate biopsy — and cancer was found in 449 of them, or 15.2 percent.
You can have cancer even if your PSA reading is below 4.
It swells in size, and the swelling clamps your urethra in a vise grip.
If the cause of the swelling is benign, you're lucky.
When PSA was first identified, the prostate appeared to be its only source, but it has even been detected, albeit in smaller amounts, in women. When your prostate is healthy, PSA is mostly contained within it, but if there is trouble in the tissue, more PSA can leak into the blood.
By the time cancer has ransacked and spread beyond the gland, PSA levels can soar into the thousands.
But nobody listened, and a lot of men continue to get biopsies they don't really need.