Health Plus: Prostate cancer survivor - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Health Plus: Prostate cancer survivor


Prostate cancer is one the most common forms of cancer in men.

But thanks to a simple screening test and multiple treatment options, eastern Iowans have a great chance of beating it.

For Pete Wetrich, it took a simple blood test to reveal prostate cancer.

"Two PSA readings discovered that my PSA level was rising at the first part of the year through an annual examination," said Pete Wetrich from Waterloo.

Prostate-specific antigen or PSA is a protein produced in the prostate that when elevated can signal cancer.

"Normal prostate will make some PSA but cancer will actually make ten times more PSA than normal tissue will," said Dr. Cassandra Foens, a radiation oncologist.

Dr. Cassandra Foens treated the 74-year-old at Covenant Cancer Treatment Center in Waterloo.

"The two main choices are surgery or some form of radiation," said Foens.

They decided radiation was the best option in his case.

"It turned out for me it made most sense to do the radiation treatment. It was eight weeks of treatment, actually 41 treatments five days a week," said Pete.

"Most men are able to work, do their other activities, function normally while they're getting radiation which is certainly a plus for them. Again, screening is the key to cancer. It's always easier to cure cancer when it's early than when it's late, so that yearly PSA with a rectal exam--I know they're not fun but it's the easiest way to find a problem early if we need to," said Foens.

Pete has been cancer-free for three months.

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