A scare

When you get older, your chances of getting a cancer scare go up. My first one was in 2012, when I got my first colonoscopy. They found a polyp, but it was tiny and it turned out not to be cancerous, so that basically just got me a return scoping in five years instead of 10 (Colonoscopy No. 2, so to speak, turned out to be boring except for a little squabble with the insurance company).

This time: “So, a biopsy, huh?” I said to the urologist. My second PSA test had just come back, and it ran hot, so the tiny hope I had that the first test was a one-off or just straight-up inaccurate was dashed.

And so, next week, I’m getting my prostate biopsied. I’m not very freaked out about it: PSAs are a crude screen (there is no reliable screening procedure for prostate cancer), the two digital exams I’ve already undergone have turned up nothing unusual/interesting, and in 75 percent of *all* cases, no cancer is found after a biopsy. Given that, and a lack of family history of prostate cancer, I’d have to think the odds are pretty high I’m merely going to have an unpleasant afternoon (trust me: Don’t look up “prostate biopsy” if you’re squeamish) instead of something worse. But the only way to find out for sure is to do the biopsy.

Given all of the other data (and the often slow-moving nature of prostate cancer), even if anything turns up, it should be highly treatable — if I decide to treat it at all for now. I’m actually way more concerned at this point about the potential side effects of prostate cancer treatment than I am about the danger of the cancer itself (don’t look up the side effects either, Squeamish Person). But this should make for an…um, eventful start to 2019.

Update 1/11: The biopsy came back negative. Happy goddamn New Year!

Also, if you’re curious, the procedure itself is…well, it ain’t a spa treatment, but it is very tolerable, and the part where they actually get tissue samples was painless for me. It also doesn’t take long (maybe 10 minutes). I wouldn’t go out of my way to get another one but I wouldn’t be particularly bothered if I had to, either.


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