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Posted: Friday, May 22, 2015

Early diagnosis is the key to surviving prostate cancer.

Medical MinuteDr. Rustan Van Wyk
With Dr. Rustan Van Wyk

Recent media reports about PSA (prostate specific antigen) testing have led to confusion about the need for this important prostate cancer screening. Prostate cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death for men in the United States. And, while a high PSA does not necessarily mean that a man has cancer and a low PSA doesn’t mean he’ll never develop the disease, the American Urological Association states that detecting and treating prostate cancer early offers more treatment options, potentially fewer side effects and the best chances for survival. Blount Memorial board-certified urologist Dr. Rustan Van Wyk explains.
    “The problem with prostate cancer is that there is not a test to determine specifically who has prostate cancer and if it is an aggressive cancer,” says Van Wyk. “There are groups of people, as well, who at are higher risk for prostate cancer. I have had patients who have died from their prostate cancer, as well as patients who needed multiple treatments for their prostate cancer to keep it under control and keep it from shortening their lives.”
    He continues, “I practice in the traditional fashion and with the general attitude that early diagnosis is the best chance for a prostate cancer cure. With the current recommendations, there only will be delays in diagnoses and more cases of advanced prostate cancer. Undoubtedly, this will result in an increase in deaths from prostate cancer. Early diagnosis is the key.”
    Much of the debate about the need for regular PSA screenings surrounds how test results are interpreted and what happens next. Although the media focuses on the most-aggressive follow-up treatments such as radiation and prostatectomies, Van Wyk stresses that there are more medications, treatment approaches and minimally invasive procedures for prostate cancer available today than ever before.
    He explains, “My urological practice covers a wide variety of these options, whether it is for prostate cancer or benign, non-cancerous disease. Patients should not be afraid to seek treatment options due to having heard the less-than-desirable stories of other patients from years ago. Even prostate cancer robotic surgery patients undergo a nearly outpatient stay, with rarely more than a single day spent in the hospital and, at most, two days. For benign disease, an outpatient procedure is normal practice to me.”
    Van Wyk has extensive experience in treating prostate cancer, including performing robotic-assisted laparoscopic radical prostatectomy using the da Vinci system. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 865-980-5244.

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