PC Survivor Ben Stiller and a “fluke” PSA score
Comedian Ben Stiller, in a recent essay, called attention to his status as a Prostate Cancer Survivor. The fact he is a survivor is placed directly on the PSA blood test, according to Stiller, which was quickly countered by various groups calling out that the PSA is still too unreliable and deemed his story a fluke.
Man, the flukes sure are adding up.
For those of you new to the process, the PSA measures Prostate-Specific Antigen, a chemical produced by the prostate. In most cases, when the prostate is inflamed or otherwise damaged, this level will rise. It is this rise that serves as an early warning of a stressed prostate and will indicate more testing. A PSA score that remains level, regardless of the number is often considered a non-risk. A sudden spike could cause concern. But you’ve already learned this from us. Let’s move along.
Stiller got a PSA and discussed the results with his Doctor, who ordered a biopsy. The biopsy showed a likely high risk aggressive cancer and they removed it.
Because of the “fluke” result.
The medical community is quick to remind us all that the PSA alone is not an indicator of the presence or absence of prostate cancer. You, from following Kilted to Kick Cancer for 6 years now, know that the PSA is just a test your Doctor can recommend based on your family history. We encourage you to speak to your family and your Doctor about your risks and seek out any screenings deemed necessary.
A single PSA is meaningless, but trending them could be important.
It is easy to say the test alone isn’t enough. We at KTKC awarded UCSF researchers $20,000 to develop better screening methods. We don’t just sit by and say the system is broken, we stand up to fix it. We just do it without pants.
Ben Stiller could have easily kept his diagnosis, treatment and continuing recovery to himself and the misplaced belief that Prostate Cancer is just an old man’s disease would be continued.
When I tell men about their risks (1 in 7 diagnosed, 1 in 36 killed) I’m often met by one of two responses.
First, “Really? I had no idea. I’ll talk to my uncle today.”
That’s the rare response. More often I hear, “If it’s going to kill me anyway and the test is BS, why even worry about it?”
I respond that all my teeth will fall out eventually but I still brush and go to the dentist. If buses were killed 1 in 36 men you better believe we’d do something about it. But no, guys are too embarased to ask their doctor about sex after PC, if a biopsy will make them impotent or if removing the prostate means no more erections. Why get informed when you can just roll the dice, right? It’s only your life after all.
Mr Stiller, we greatly appreciate you sharing your story in the hopes more men will seek out the information they need to live healthier lives. We’d love to talk to you about spreading this word in September next year for Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. Let’s get you kilted up. We’ll send some swag even.
As everything turns pink this month and you go out to “Save the tatas” just keep in mind that if PC kills you there will be no one to appreciate said tatas. Stop ignoring the risks and have the conversation with your family.
Aggressive PC is killing more men younger than science thought. Men in their 50s are hearing, “If we could have caught this sooner…” while men in their 40s are being told, “The test isn’t accurate, so let’s wait.” Meanwhile the list of “fluke” catches of guys in their 30s with aggressive PC is climbing.
Don’t go another minute without being armed with the information you need to make an informed decision regarding your life. Share this post, your status, your unchanging PSA score, your risks, your knowledge. If we can wear kilts for an entire month, you can call your dad. If Ben Stiller can open up to the world about something so personal maybe you can feel uncomfortable for a few moments and save your own life.
Get the facts.
Get your history.