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Letter: The Importance of a PSA Test

The importance of a PSA test

Eagle resident John D. Goodman explains what a prostate-specific antigen test is and why it is important:

I am fortunate to be amid a life well-lived. I cannot complain. I have experienced adventure from dozens of ‘Dead shows, to Alaska and Austria, Israel to Istanbul, Martha’s Vineyard to Machu Pichu, and Kansas City to Cape Town. As a parent of five, a lawyer and former college professor, I am used to thinking on my feet, effectuating an outcome, problem-solving and controlling the dialogue. Nothing in my life prepared me for Jan. 11, 2021, when I was diagnosed with prostate cancer.

For 11 years, I was vigilant about my annual checkup, where I took a prostate-specific antigen test. A PSA test is a simple blood test, like a blood test for high cholesterol. PSA is not routinely checked, and unless you have a family history, you need to ask for it. I don’t have a family history.

Fortunately, my primary care physician, Dr. Jon Feeney, at Colorado Mountain Medical warned that if my PSA level ever climbed above 4.0 or rose more than one point in a year, it would be advisable to get a biopsy of my prostate. Sure enough, my PSA climbed above 4.0. After taking a urine test and then a pelvic MRI (both ambivalent), I underwent a biopsy that confirmed I had cancer. Trained to ask questions, and naturally impatient, these attributes served me well. Knowledge is a powerful tool in this fight, as is connection with people you can depend on to listen and support you, whether you are a patient or a partner.

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