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Prostate cancer survivor urges you to get your annual checkups

About 1 in 6 males will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lives

BRYAN, Texas — You may have heard the phrase “no shave November” before. This month is typically filled with different fundraisers and events to bring awareness to men’s health issues and no shave November is just one example. 

Ricky Smith is 58 years old and is now nine months cancer free. 

“That year was torturous. I went in for my yearly checkup, and I'm one of those guys that don’t want to go to the doctor, don’t want to have nothing to do with the doctor, don’t like shots, mister tough guy. Went in for my yearly checkup and [the] doctor said my numbers were elevated,” said Smith, 

Smith was then referred to a urologist who diagnosed him with prostate cancer.  

“Dr. Ruddell wanted to watch it maybe for like a year and it was contained. And when we came to the point within that year that we needed to do surgery, we did that and now I'm 9 months cancer free,” said Smith.

Learning from his own experience, he encourages men in the community to not skip their doctor visits. 

“I’ve heard all my life early detection, early detection, and that is absolutely the truth because I had no pain, I had no symptoms whatsoever. So that bloodwork every year, checkups every year, everything is very crucial and listen to the doctor and do exactly as they say. They are there to help you, they’re there to save your life," said Smith. 

The prostate is a reproductive organ that can develop cancer or cause urinary obstructions.  

“It’s pretty rare in men less than the age of 50 although it can occur. Prostate cancer, approximately one in six males will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their life, and it’s actually the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States,” said Baylor Scott & White Urologist Dr. Timothy Ruddell. 

Dr. Ruddell said prostate cancer can occur at different levels of severity and there are multiple ways to treat it.

"We do have certain screening tests for that. So for men starting usually between the ages of 55 and 70, what's called a PSA. That is a blood test that stands for prostate specific antigen. That blood test should be done typically annually in men who do not have any history of prostate cancer. 

He added that if you have a family history of prostate cancer, you should get screened five years before the earliest diagnosis in your family.

Prostate obstruction is also quite common and can affect urination. If you have any urinary symptoms such as added frequency or urgency, speak with your primary doctor. 

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