“Bob Dole saved my life.”
Those were words my grandpa often said back in the ‘90s. No, this is not meant to be a political post. My grandpa lived in rural Kansas and heard the message Bob Dole was telling men: get your prostate checked.
My grandpa took his advice and set an appointment with his doctor. I don’t know all the details (at that age, I just didn’t understand the nuances of diseases and why things like that matter), but the gist was that my grandpa got his prostate checked, and found his PSA level was high. This later led to the news that my grandpa had prostate cancer.
When I hear PSA, I think of public service announcement. But that’s not the PSA we’re talking about here. According to cancer.gov, PSA, or prostate-specific antigen, is a protein produced by good and bad cells of the prostate. The level is measured through a simple blood test, and an elevated number between 4 and 10 could mean there is a problem. This could be something as minor as an enlarged prostate or as major as prostate cancer. Elevated numbers don’t equal cancer, but they do suggest there could be a problem. This requires further treatment and discussion with your doctor. My grandpa took that route and got treatment quickly.
Thanks to people like Bob Dole who used his status in Kansas to spread the message of getting checked and helped normalize men’s health issues, more men (and even women) heard about something they might’ve never heard of until it was too late. So, let’s all spread the word and get checked!