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'It was the toughest day of my life' | Katy man encourages men to get screened for prostate cancer early

Michael Pursley had no symptoms and no family history when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer.

KATY, Texas — At 53 years old, Michael Pursley learned he had prostate cancer.

The father of three had no symptoms and no family history. The first red flag showed up in a blood test. After putting off additional testing for more than a year, he was diagnosed in December.

“I had to go home and tell my wife, my kids. It was the toughest day of my life," Pursley said. "My wife said, ‘It's OK. We’re going to get through this.’” 

His doctor at Memorial Hermann said prostate cancer is most common in men in their 60s and 70s, but he is seeing patients in their 50s and occasionally in their 40s. The risk is higher for black men, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“A lot of people ask when they should get screened," said Dr. Paul Smith a urologist at Memorial Hermann. "I say in the 40s. Just get one. See what your number is. If it’s great, you can wait several years to do it again. That’s just a blood test. It’s easy to do with your normal physical.”

After his diagnosis, Michael opted to undergo a robotic surgery to remove the tumor, and hopefully allow him to return to normal life faster. Smith said a Retzius-sparing prostatectomy, which is associated with better continence results, is only an option if cancer is caught early.

“I’ve done blood work two times since then, Pursley said. "It is undetectable in my body. We think we’re as cured as you can be.”

Pursley wants all men to hear his story and get screened for prostate cancer early with a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test.

“It’s a blood test. It takes 30 seconds. You hear about colon screening cancer, that type of thing, that’s a bad experience," he said. "This is an easy experience."

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