PSA tests and a Little Girl Who Still Has Her Grandpa

There are so many things you can say about David Southern’s triumph over prostate cancer. But no one can say enough about the significance of PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) testing in his survival.
Early detection – catching the cancer before it reached an advanced stage – saved David’s life.
There’s one issue that comes up as David tells his story, one theme that’s repeated over and again as men across the country share their experiences with Prostate Cancer Canada (PCC).
That single factor is family.2015-09-01-17_06_41-Dave,-Alexis,-Vashti-JPG-(4997×3161).png 

And one of those feeling the great burden of worry over David’s cancer was a little girl who loved her grandpa.
David was 55 when he his doctor spotted an elevated PSA level. After a number of subsequent PSA tests showed rising results, he had a couple of biopsies.
When those turned up negative and PSA levels remained high, an MRI was done. That’s when a tumour was revealed at the back of his prostate, where it was hidden from other tests he’d had.
With his granddaughter and so much more to live for, David not only put a brave face on his situation; he attacked it head-on.
In his quest for understanding, he did a lot of research using Prostate Cancer Canada’s website and other PCC resources. In the end he assured everyone, including his precious grandchild, that he did not consider his diagnosis a death sentence.
A surgeon removed David’s prostate; but 18 months later, his PSA levels were rising once again – an indication that some cancer had moved beyond the gland.
So he began radiation therapy in November 2014, toward the end of what had already been an extremely difficult year for himself and his family.
That year, David not only lost his mother, but one of his daughters. There’s no doubt about it, the doctor’s news met a family that was already suffering a great deal of grief.
“Fortunately, the prognosis for a complete recovery is good,” reports David. “I’m so thankful for the PSA test because, without it, the cancer very likely would not have been found until it had spread throughout my body – and by then it could have been too late to do anything about it.”
David says that “monitoring my PSA levels gave me an advantage. It meant that the cancer was found in time to do some research, and make an informed decision… Prostate Cancer Canada provided me with a place to seek out the information I needed.”
That information was not only crucial to David. It was information he could take back to his worried family – back to that little girl who was “afraid she was going to lose her grandpa”.
As David says, “There’s no doubt about it, going through these treatments isn’t pleasant. The physical and emotional toll is difficult, not just for the individual undergoing it, but for their families, too.”
But the outcome was well worth it.
David’s PSA scans have shown no sign of cancer for quite some time now; and thinking of what could have happened without early detection, he emphasizes that he’s “so grateful for the PSA test, and for the time I’ll be able to have with my loved ones.”
But there’s more to it than one man’s story and one family’s relief that they still have Grandpa in their midst. David is a person who looks to the future.
He thinks about the fact that one in every eight Canadian men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in his lifetime. And he’s keen to share his hope that someday – someday relatively soon – there will be a cure for the disease that could have taken his life.
He’s grateful that Prostate Cancer Canada is there to support critical research that will contribute to an even brighter future for everyone who is touched by this disease.
As the story of David’s granddaughter shows so very clearly, that research is important to just about every single individual in Canada… because so many of our lives will be touched by this cancer.
And when that happens, nothing means more than the gift of more time.
That’s what your support gives families through Prostate Cancer Canada – time, and more. Hope that one day there will be a cure. So that none of us has to think about losing someone we love.
Posted: 2015-09-01 11:22:35 AM


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