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When 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 McNally’s PSA showed a higher than normal level, he was referred to a urologist and made an appointment to see Michael Ross, MD,.
Since undergoing bypass surgery six years ago, McNally, 69, a retired systems analyst, led a healthy lifestyle. He ate right, exercised, was taking minimal medication and was not experiencing any symptoms. Even so, an MRI fusion biopsy showed aggressive stage 2 prostate cancer.
McNally 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—much lower than his highest number of 9.57, which was recorded just before he started treatment.
“I was really surprised that I had no side effects,” McNally 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.”
McNally 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,” McNally 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.”