Men’s Health Month: From Prostate Cancer Patient to Survivor and Advocate

picture of tony braun

Tony Braun was at his urologist’s office one day in 2010 because of a kidney stone when the physician became alarmed. Bloodwork showed Tony’s prostate-specific antigen, or PSA, a blood test that screens for prostate abnormalities, had elevated from 1.9 to 2.7 over the course of nine years. The rise in Tony’s PSA led to his urologist recommending a prostate biopsy.

He had not experienced any symptoms of prostate cancer and he was stunned by the news. The disease is rare in men younger than 40, but the chance of having prostate cancer rises rapidly after age 50, according to the American Cancer Society. Although most clinical laboratories report a normal PSA range of 0-4.0.

Tony was 58 years old, and the Ocala resident faced an internal struggle. He didn’t know if he was ready to face the results of a prostate biopsy because he lost his father to this illness in 1996. At that time, treatment options were fewer and riskier than they are today. Tony’s personal connection with the disease led to his decision to undergo the biopsy.

After finding that he did indeed have prostate cancer, Tony spoke to several urologists about next steps. The main takeaway from these meetings was the recommendation that Tony should have his prostate surgically removed.

A family friend suggested he contact Li-Ming Su, M.D., the David A. Cofrin professor of urologic oncology and chair of the UF College of Medicine’s department of urology. His meeting with Su, which lasted an hour and a half, answered all of Tony’s questions. Tony trusted Su’s expertise, attention to detail and caring approach to patients.

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