My wife is a funny lady with a wry sense of humor. More so lately, she’s been keeping me on a serious straight and narrow when it comes to things pertaining to my health or diet.
So it didn’t surprise me when I was grilled about my upcoming urologist appointment.
I assured her I’d be keeping it and also that I‘d be making a stop next week to get my PSA lab work done beforehand. And that’s when things took a turn towards the pseudo-funny topic of the morning catch.
Ladies probably already know what I’m talking about but for you men out there, no, I’m not talking about fishing.
You see, every time I’ve gone to my urologist, he’s requested an immediate urine sample. And by immediate I do mean immediately before I’m even seen. This sample, according to my wife, is called the morning catch or fresh catch in obstetrics and gynecological circles.
Let me describe the scenario: You walk through the inner office door, a cup is jammed into your hand and you’re unceremoniously ushered into the nearest bathroom. I can’t begin to describe the amount of performance anxiety this causes, especially if you don’t really have to go.
Seems there’s a big difference between men and pregnant women who, as the missus claims, are able to pee at a moment’s notice.
But anyway there you are; locked in a bathroom with a little window on the wall equipped with a small door, strategically bolted on the other side, conspicuous cups placed diligently in plain sight for you in case you overfill the one they routinely give you, I guess.
And all the while you’re trying to squeeze off a sample you know there’s a nurse on the other side of that window poised like a catcher at home plate waiting for that high fast ball. At least you hope she is; I mean you don’t want the thing to just languidly sit around, especially after you’ve gone through all the effort to produce it.
Still anxiety or no, failing to keep the appointment or not going altogether is not an option for me; nor should it be one for any man. Look at these facts from the American Cancer Society’s download titled, Prostate Cancer:
Other than skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in American men. The latest American Cancer Society estimates for prostate cancer in the United States are for 2012:
· About 241,740 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed
· About 28,170 men will die of prostate cancer
About 1 man in 6 will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime.
Prostate cancer occurs mainly in older men. Nearly two thirds are diagnosed in men aged 65 or older, and it is rare before age 40. The average age at the time of diagnosis is about 67.
Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in American men, behind only lung cancer. About 1 man in 36 will die of prostate cancer.
Prostate cancer can be a serious disease, but most men diagnosed with prostate cancer do not die from it. In fact, more than 2.5 million men in the United States who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point are still alive today.
So while we got our humor on that morning, it goes without saying that prostate cancer is no laughing matter.
And since African-American males have a greater chance of being diagnosed with the disease in its advanced stages and are twice as likely to die from it as their white counterparts, it’s a condition that I need to be very aware of.
Another thing, as there’s been greater discussion about the usefulness and veracity of the prostate-specific antigen blood test (PSA) it’s imperative that all men begin this discussion with their doctors sooner rather than later, especially those whose family has a history of the disease.
In fact, it might not be a bad idea for men even younger than 40 years old, an age where diagnosis of the disease is considered rare, to be aware of the ailment lurking on the horizon. I’m in the restrooms and since we’re not as embarrassed as the Japanese are about bathroom noises, I hear a lot more trickling going on from guys who shouldn’t have that sort of problem. I’m just saying…