When Stan Hanoski was told he had an elevated PSA, he didn’t have a clue what that meant. Nor did he know why he was being sent for a biopsy.
Diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2015, Hanoski had surgery and radiation treatments. He continues to have blood tests and sees an oncologist every six months.
“So far, so good,” said the 62-year-old.
But life wasn’t so good following his annual checkup two years ago.
“They said my PSA test came back a little high, but I had no idea in terms of cancer what PSA meant or the digital rectal exam — I didn’t know what they were for,” Hanoski said. “I didn’t even know I was getting a PSA test frankly … No one really tells you why you’re getting them and what they actually mean.”
Prostate specific antigen (PSA) is a protein produced within the prostate gland and secreted into seminal fluid. A simple blood test measures the amount of PSA protein in the blood. High levels of PSA might indicate the presence of cancer, but can also indicate other prostate conditions.
Hanoski was further confused when he was told he required a biopsy.
“They didn’t tell me it was for prostate cancer,” he said. “My wife and I talked about it and I phoned back and said, ‘What is exactly going on?’ “
After the biopsy confirmed he had prostate cancer, surgery followed six weeks later.
Hanoski talks with his wife about mammograms and pap tests, but he said men aren’t as open about their health.
“Guys just don’t seem to want to talk about what they’re going through or what they’re feeling,” Hanoski said. “But I question how many people know what the PSA test is or the digital rectal exam … We sort of rely on our doctors and our health system to tell us if there’s a problem rather than be a little bit more proactive.”
To educate the public, the Regina chapter of the Prostate Cancer Canada Network (PCCN) is holding a free prostate cancer seminar at the Travelodge Hotel, 4177 Albert St. Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
“I would never have thought about attending a prostate cancer seminar prior to being diagnosed,” Hanoski said. “But somehow we have to get that information out in terms of the purpose of the PSA test and the purpose of the digital rectal exam so people understand that it’s important to get it done.”
Mikki Robicheau, a registered nurse and prostate nurse navigator with the Prostate Assessment Centre, Dr. Asim Amjad, an oncologist with the Allan Blair Cancer Centre, and Dr. Francisco Garcia, a clinical assistant professor at the University of Saskatchewan and urology consultant will provide information at the seminar.
Women are welcome to attend the seminar.
Spouses and partners are affected by a prostate cancer diagnosis too, Hanoski said.
“There’s the care component. There’s the stress component. There’s the psychological component. There’s just so much going on,” he said. “It’s unfortunate, but we forget that the wife or spouse also have to go through it. It’s so important to give them support.”
To register for the seminar, email email@example.com or call Hanoski at 306-529-1322.
“It’s an opportunity to become more comfortable talking about prostate cancer,” he said. “Even the people who have prostate cancer really don’t want to talk about it. I think it’s a shame because the more we talk about it, the easier it gets. For me, it’s somewhat therapeutic as well.”