Dangers of Prostate Cancer

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. — It’s one of the most common and deadly forms of cancer. Doctors will diagnose prostate cancer in one out of every six men.

For the second time, Richard Riggs finds himself battling prostate cancer.

“Thought everything was good, then five years later it showed up in the bone,” Riggs said.

But this time the 87-year-old is fighting back with a more aggressive treatment.

“I’m going to get my white blood cells that they took Tuesday morning. They’ve been treated, and I’m going to get them back today,” Riggs said. “It’s not a cure. It just gives you more life at the end.”

Prostate cancer is something Dr. Jeff Woolsey with the Oregon Urology Institute knows all too well.

“It’s the second most common form of cancer, following only skin cancer,” Woolsey said.

According to the Duke Cancer Institute, nearly 20 percent of men will end up with prostate cancer.

But through early and regular screenings starting at age 40, most cases won’t end up like this one.

“The goal in screening for prostate cancer is to identify very early in prostate cancer that it’s still confined to the prostate and while we have a chance to intervene and fully treat the cancer,” Woolsey said. “If we have delayed diagnosis or late identification of the cancer, you’ve often waited too late. It’s outside the prostate. Then we don’t have a chance to cure the prostate cancer.”

Sadly for Riggs, his cancer morphed into one of the more aggressive forms.

“Maybe I haven’t realized how serious it is, but I still have a good attitude about it,” Riggs said.

With a positive outlook, Riggs offers this advice.

“The PSA and blood test is very simple. It doesn’t tell you everything, but it does give you a clue,” Riggs said.

Those clues through early detection and continued checkups could end up saving your life.

Because prostate cancer often has no signs of symptoms during its early, curable stage, doctors urge men to get a check-up.

If found early, the five-year survival rate is 99 percent.

The Oregon Urology Institute is offering free prostate exams July 10 and 11 at the Valley River Center in Eugene from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. No appointments or insurance is needed. Doctors say the actual exam itself only takes a few minutes.

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