Early prostate cancer detection can save lives

June 17, 2011 1:52:49 PM PDT
"April 2nd, I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. May 30th, I had my prostate robotically removed!" said Jeff Black, prostate cancer survivor.

He will be the first to tell you that he is a nightmare of a patient. He never really liked the doctor's office, but all of that changes quickly when you those words.

"When you hear it's cancer, your mind shuts down," Black said.

Jeff was stunned, in part because he always thought prostate cancer was an older man's disease. But at 47, reality hit him hard.

Dr. Ravi Munver knows how important early detection is. He is chief of minimally invasive and robotic urologic surgery at Hackensack University Medical Center.

He is the one who removed Jeff's prostate.

"For someone like him, had we not detected the cancer early, he might not have been a candidate for surgery or any other kind of treatment."

Jeff could have died, but a simple blood test and a digital rectal exam saved his life.

You better believe he has prepared his two sons.

"40 years old, you're gonna get tested. I'll hold you down, your mother will hold you down, one way or another you're getting checked."

A sentiment East Rutherford police chief Larry Minda shares.

As fit as any 54-year-old you will meet. He plays hockey, tennis, and works out.

During a routine check of his knee, his doctor suggested a simple blood test.

His PSA, or Prostate Specific Antigen levels were high. A digital rectal exam and a biopsy later, it was cancer.

"I was surprised because I felt so good," said Minda.

Within 6 months, he had his prostate removed. Another life saved by early detection.

His advice for anyone approaching 40, "Just like we talk about in police work, you need to be proactive, not reactive. The same goes for healthcare."

And as for the elephant in the room, many men don't get tested because they dread the rectal exam. Doctors say please don't. It takes just seconds and could very well save your life. Both Chief Minda and Jeff are cancer-free and living healthy lives.