Prostate Cancer: TriHealth Team Member Says Regular Screening Could Save Your Life
Donald Landrum – age 44 at the time – didn’t notice any symptoms. He didn’t even know what the symptoms were. He went in for his annual prostate exam during the summer of 2009, like he’d been doing, religiously, for the last four years, when his urologist noticed his prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels were high. So he sent Donald to Good Samaritan Hospital for a biopsy.
The results came back; Donald was diagnosed with prostate cancer. “I couldn’t believe it,” he says.
African-American Men are More at-Risk for Prostate Cancer
Prostate cancer is more common in African-American men – and, it’s more aggressive – which is one reason Donald made sure to start getting screened early.
The American Cancer Society recommends that men have a chance to make an informed decision with their health care provider about whether to be screened for prostate cancer. The decision should be made after getting information about the uncertainties, risks, and potential benefits of prostate cancer screening. The discussion about screening should take place at age 50 for men who are at average risk of prostate cancer and are expected to live at least 10 more years; however, men at a higher risk of developing prostate cancer should start the discussion at age 45.
Those who have a greater risk include:
- African Americans
- Men who have a first-degree relative (father, brother, or son) diagnosed with prostate cancer at an early age (younger than age 65).
Note: This discussion should take place at age 40 for men at even higher risk (those with more than one first-degree relative who had prostate cancer at an early age).
What's Next: Staging his Prostate Cancer
Once Donald was diagnosed, his urologist recommended he get a CT scan to see if the cancer spread to anywhere else in the pelvic region. Fortunately, it was localized.
From there, he went to an informational session at Good Samaritan about one of his treatment options: robotic-assisted prostatectomy, a less invasive surgical approach that’s performed with the da Vinci Surgical System. “I was the youngest person there,” Donald recalls. “I think the closest guy my age was 50. There were other guys in their seventies and eighties.”
“Let’s Get it Out. I’m Ready.”
Once Donald learned his diagnosis, he didn’t need much time to make a decision. “I prayed on it and immediately told my doctor, ‘Get it out of me. Schedule it as soon as you can,’” he says.
He went in for surgery on Oct. 6, 2009 and left the hospital with only a few tiny scars from the incisions on his abdomen. While he took the recommended six weeks off work (he works in TriHealth’s Patient Accounting Department) to recover, he was up and walking the very next day. In fact, he even hit the weight room a little sooner than his doctor cleared him for, but “that’s just me,” he laughs.
Since surgery, Donald continues having his regular check-ups and hasn’t had any issues since.
Donald Participates in No Shave November to Spread Awareness
Now, five years later, Donald’s participating in No Shave November, a collaboration between TriHealth and the Cincinnati Bengals to raise awareness about men’s health issues. Through the month-long awareness campaign, men are encouraged to grow out their facial hair, which, ideally, sparks conversations about how important it is for men to see their health care providers for their annual physical.
“Catch it early. That’s it. Had I not gone to my urologist to get checked, it might’ve spread further and I might’ve been in a situation where the surgery may not have worked and I would have to go through radiation treatment, so catching it early is my whole message,” Donald explains.