‘It’s better to catch this stuff early’: cancer patient encourages men to get check-ups during Men’s Health Month

Health & Wellness

SPRINGFIELD, Ohio (WDTN) – June is men’s health month and professionals are urging them to pay closer attention to their bodies and get screened for prostate cancer annually.

David Haynes, a Mercy Health patient, was only 54 when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer, and he said he probably would’ve never known he was sick if it weren’t for his wife. 

“Three years ago, she made me go get a wellness check,” said Haynes. “So they did the PSA (prostate-specific antigen) check — the blood check, and it was a little higher than what they normally see, but it was in the normal range. A year and half later, I went back for a second wellness check and it had jumped significantly.”

It was around that time Haynes was diagnosed with stage I prostate cancer. He said up to that point, he, like many other men, avoided the doctor out of pride and fear of receiving bad news.

“Not only do we not want the bad news for ourselves, but we don’t want to put that bad news burden on our loved ones. Most everybody in the world [has] experienced somebody with cancer. It’s a very hard thing to walk through. So, sometimes not knowing — you put your head in the sand — it’s easier than facing it.”

Osteopathic physician with Mercy Health, Dr. Beraht Thapa said the pandemic has only intensified this issue, causing patients to be more hesitant about seeing their doctor. 

“But now that…people are getting more vaccinated and everything’s…improving,” said Thapa, “it is important to get the screenings and make sure we can find these underlying diagnoses before they become more severe.”

Haynes added fear and pride are not good enough reasons for men to forego these check-ups.

“Men need to take care of themselves, they really do,” he said. “You know, by putting stuff off, and then having a worse condition to deal with later — can actually put you and your family through way worse conditions than getting a wellness check and hitting things head on.”

Haynes said by getting an early diagnosis, he was able to start receiving radiation and is expected to make a full recovery.

Health professionals said well checks are generally not time consuming, taking just a few minutes for blood work and five minutes or less for digital rectal exams. Most importantly, those few minutes could be life-saving.

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