Prostate cancer patient speaks out about experience

Published: Aug. 5, 2020 at 8:18 AM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - Last year, Tom Bilse noticed something different about his quality of sleep.

“It was mostly just getting up in the middle of the night numerous times. Four or five times was common,” said Bilse.

At his annual physical, another warning sign.

“I had a high PSA rating,” said Bilse.

The PSA rating - or prostate-specific antigen - is one way doctors can get a better idea of a patient’s risk for prostate cancer. If it’s abnormal, health professionals will take a closer look.

“The biopsy confirmed that I did have cancer of the prostate,” said Bilse.

Prostate cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in men. About one in nine will develop it during their lifetime. Usually prostate cancer grows slowly and is initially confined to the prostate gland, where it may not cause serious harm if it’s found in time.

“The good news is it was caught early and it wasn’t an aggressive type of cancer,” Bilse said of his diagnosis.

It was caught early because of that PSA.

“We usually recommend that we start this at the age of 50 for average risk individuals, who for instance don’t have family history of it,” said Lacey Raiche, a nurse practitioner at Marshfield Clinic Health System. “It’s a simple blood test that can be done. So a lot of times, men don’t notice anything different because they’re getting their other blood work done for their annual physical.”

For those who might be nervous about detection, take it from someone who’s been there.

“It’s not that bad,” said Bilse. “For the most part it’s painfree and mostly it’s an inconvenience. So for someone to shy away from it, or be embarassed about it, I wouldn’t.”

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