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Annual Exams Critically Important

June 15, 2022

When 69-year-old Mark McNally of Palatine went for his annual exam his primary care physician, Arthur Hong, MD, noted there were no prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test results in his file.

PSA is something made by the prostate gland — high PSA levels, determined through a simple blood test, may be a sign of prostate cancer, a noncancerous condition such as prostatitis, or an enlarged prostate gland.

When Mark’s PSA showed a higher than normal level, he was referred to an urologist and made an appointment to see Michael Ross, MD.

Since undergoing bypass surgery six years ago, the retired systems analyst led a healthy lifestyle. He ate right, exercised, was taking minimal medication and was not experiencing any symptoms when an MRI fusion biopsy showed aggressive stage 2 prostate cancer.

Mark was provided with options, including closely monitoring the disease without treatment. He chose to undergo radiology treatments under the care of radiation oncologist Najeeb Mohideen, MD. After going in every day, five times a week for a total of 28 treatments his PSA numbers were down to .04 — way below his highest number, 9.57, just before starting treatment.

“I was really surprised that I had no side effects,” Mark said. “I was impressed with the pinpointing capabilities of the treatments which were really easy and took just a couple of minutes. It took me longer to get to the hospital.”

Mark stays quite busy with travel, gardening, photography and woodworking. His latest project is making a changing table/dresser for his first grandchild due in October. He also volunteers with Rebuild Chicago and enjoys the outdoors, hiking and camping with his wife and three adult children.

His advice for other men is to be diligent with annual exams and PSA testing. “It’s a simple blood test, it’s nothing,” Mark said. “If there’s an indication that something is going on, follow through, listen to your doctor and don’t hesitate to fix it. Be comfortable talking to other men and family members, and encourage them to have check-ups.” According to Dr. Ross, “PSA’s are easy but critically important tests for men to get, and Mark’s story is a tangible reminder of why.”

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