Checkup 13: Prostate cancer
Anne Marie Tiernon/Eyewitness News
Indianapolis - For the August Checkup 13, the emphasis this month is prostate cancer.
Are you getting the screenings recommended for your age? Keith Becker is fortunate his wife encouraged him to consult a doctor.
Keith Becker survived the Air Force and Vietnam without injury. Now decades later, he's amazed the deadly attack arrived without warning.
"I felt fine. There was no pain, and that is one of the bad things is it doesn't give you any pain," said Becker, 71.
Keith's wife Paula, worried about high blood pressure, urged Keith to go to the doctor. A blood test revealed his PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) level was 55. The ideal score for his age group is six and under.
"I'll tell you there were a lot of nights that he went to bed. I made sure he was asleep. I was in the office looking things up, crying, honestly wondering if we had months or years or what kind of quality of life that would going to be," she said.
Biopsies revealed a stage three cancer.
"He is a classic example of a gentleman who really received all three types of therapy that we offer surgical radiation and then hormonal manipulation," said Dr. Ken Ney, St. Vincent Hospital.
"I wouldn't be here as advanced as that was going, so it would have just been a matter of time. The test is highly important very important and it should be done yearly," said Becker.
"The PSA test is simply a blood test. Just come in an get a blood draw and that is all. It is a simply blood test very quick, very easy," said Dr. Ney. "I hear this all the time. 'I feel so well. I feel so good. How can I have this? How can there be something wrong with me when I feel so good?'"
Keith lost his first wife to cancer. He is grateful he found love again. His doctors say he is cancer free.
The older you are, the higher your risk. You are also at higher risk if there is a family history, or if you are African American.