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Male? Over the age of 40? Read this, it might save your life.

January 18, 2008

I received this email from a friend and given the fact that I am now 41, it resonated with me. Thought I’d share it and hopefully someone out there putting this off might think twice.

My name is Adam.  I’ve been diagnosed with PROSTATE CANCER at the age of 45.

Let me give you some background.  There is NO Cancer in my family.  I had absolutely no symptoms. 

 In May of 2007 after some blood work from my annual physical exam a red flag occurred. MY PSA jumped from 1.0 to 3.5 over a 2 year period.  PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) is a test that screens your levels of protein in the prostate gland to see if there is danger of cancer. The rise in my PSA led me to see an Urologist who had my prostate gland biopsy.  It was this test that showed I had a very aggressive cancer (Gleason 9) growing inside me. The Gleason score is what is given by the lab based on the growth of the cancer.  My Gleason score of 9 basically said I had the most extreme form of growing cancer and the prognosis is NOT good.

 This PSA test has been approved by the FDA to be tested for Men over the age of 50 unless there IS cancer in the family.  For some strange reason, my internist runs the test for everyone over the age of 40.  HE probably SAVED my life. Why???? Because I was tested early and often.  Most people who get a Gleason score of 9 or 10 in there 40’s do not have a good chance of surviving more than 5 years.  The reason is that the cancer is growing so fast that is likely spread to other parts of the body.  Because I was tested, it looks like my cancer was caught early enough so that my prognosis is better than most with a Gleason 9 in their 40’s.

 The irony of this is that my wife made the appointment this year for me.  You know you get wrapped up with work, family and life. Never seemed able to make the time. I just kept coming up with excuses.  Thank god she made this appointment.  Don’t be like me!

 So what is the reason for this message?  MAKE SURE YOU GET YOU ANNUAL CHECK UPS AND MAKE SURE YOUR DOCTOR TESTS FOR PSA.  They are already taking blood for other tests they can do a PSA too.

 Maybe this exam will save your life or a family member or a friend. It most likely, and hopefully saved mine.

29 Comments leave one →
  1. wblacy permalink
    January 18, 2008 7:13 pm

    Curt – Thank you for posting Adam’s email. My story is almost identical to Adam’s, except that I am 40. Last July during an annual physical, my PSA was measured, for whatever reason, and came back elevated at 6.7. My biopsy a week after the Pan-Mass Challenge showed prostate cancer at a Gleason of 7 (4+3). While not a 9, a 4+3 version of 7 is still relatively aggressive. The Gleason number (from 2-10) is a sum of 2 numbers from 1-5, the first representing the aggressiveness of the most common population cancer cells from the biopsy, and the second representing the aggressiveness of the second most common population. I had a robotic laparoscopic prostatectomy on November 26 performed by a wonderful surgeon at Lahey Clinic in Burlington, got a clean pathology report on November 30, and a non-detectable PSA level on January 8. I am one of the lucky ones and consider myself blessed that my cancer was found at an early stage. Clearly someone was looking out for me (why else would a PSA test have been run at age 40?). A number of my friends who had been putting off their physicals have decided to go (and have a PSA test done). This type of cancer is very beatable if caught early. Best of luck to Adam and if there is anyway to put us in touch I would be happy to pass on all the info I learned throughout my ordeal.

  2. gregbauer1 permalink
    January 18, 2008 8:51 pm

    Curt,
    Within the last few months, I learned of your blog and checked in to see what you were saying. I’ve known you since the days of little league and you liked to talk then too! This article hit home (no baseball pun intended), as I’m 40, a father of two small children, and a husband. You never think something like this is going to happen to you. Your friend’s story is a humbling reminder of what a gift life is. I commend you for using your celebrity in reaching out to people.

    On another note, I can remember watching you pitch your 1st major league game as an Oriole, facing Wade Boggs as your first hitter. Twenty years later, as you claim this to be your last season, I wish you a happy and healthy season.

    Regards,
    Greg Bauer

  3. warbler44 permalink
    January 18, 2008 9:17 pm

    But HMO’s don’t want to pay for psa tests; it cuts into the billion dollar profits of the insurance companies. Disease is very profitable; look at the drug companies. You can afford the best Curt, you have nothing to worry about. You can support war you aren’t willing to fight or pay for and have access to the best for your family. You are blessed by the gods.To hell with everyone else.

  4. jimmykc permalink
    January 18, 2008 9:28 pm

    Excellent place for this thread. I am living proof that cancer which is caught early and treated aggressively is survivable (mine happened to be of the throat variety). Another good tip for you ballplayers (Curt, Tito, Josh?) is to kick the chewing habit once and for all. Please.

  5. mannyramirez1 permalink
    January 18, 2008 11:21 pm

    Good to know. I’ll pass this message onto all the old guys I know *smirk* Seriously though, good message.

  6. bdpdcded permalink
    January 19, 2008 12:05 am

    Curt – from recent posts, I get a picture of you politically and personally… What do you think about saving the world? Sports (and politics, entertainment, etc) could conceivably save the world or at least America… There are many athletes and others out there who contribute a great deal of money and time to specific charities or their own causes, etc. What if they centralized it and created larger scale social resources? Whaddya think? What we are lacking is a leader, an organizer, or at the very least an agitator (all of which I think you’d be good at). Throw the challenge out there to the masses of the sports world, see what happens. I have lots of thoughts on this and am looking for someone with some clout to help…

  7. steve1964 permalink
    January 19, 2008 8:29 am

    Ya talked me into it……. I’ll be making an appointment as soon as possible

  8. pleasestaycurt permalink
    January 19, 2008 8:50 am

    Good work Curt, thanks.

  9. January 19, 2008 10:36 am

    Truthfully – I think they should be testing younger than 40 – as early as 35.

    Prostate Cancer, similar to Breast Cancer is appearing in people younger and younger these days. Such a scary thought – esp. to think that if they tested sooner, often these diseases can be fought with better prognosis for long term!

    It’s interesting how in today’s age, supposedly we eat better and take better care of ourselves generally speaking – and yet it seems that diseases like Cancer are more rampant now than ever. What’s that all about I wonder?

    On a side note – I attended a dinner party last night at Fenway at the EMC Club, and what a treat that was. So very cool to see the park during the off season, and from such a different perspective.

  10. bmackellar permalink
    January 19, 2008 6:42 pm

    As a physician I believe in appropriate screening for cancers. There are always exceptions to general rules and if there are any concerning signs or symptoms testing is warranted. However, there is data that routine testing of a PSA on ALL men over the age of 40 has not been shown to be beneficial. It would vastly increase medical costs and result in many men receiving painful and unnecessary procedures for false positive tests. This is clearly recommended by the National Preventive Service’s Task force and printed in their guidelines. It IS a good idea to get regular checkups but not every male over 40 needs or should get a PSA test done.

  11. denisesoxfan permalink
    January 19, 2008 7:08 pm

    Curt, thanks for posting this. Different type of cancer, obviously, but my mother waited too long for a diagnosis and passed away much too early in life when she could have been treated successfully.
    Denise

  12. pamelad1986 permalink
    January 19, 2008 7:41 pm

    Hello Mr. Schilling,

    This is my first time on your site, and your newest post just happened to be on cancer, which is sad but also the reason I am on 38 Pitches.

    I am participating in San Diego’s Rock and Roll Marathon through Team in Training, which is part of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. My cousin, Jennifer Marks, is a survivor of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, and she is actually running the race with me. I need to raise money for the Society in order to participate, and am aware your teammate Jon Lester was afflicted with non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and I wanted to contact him in regards to donating. The only address I could find was Yawkey Way, and I don’t know how effective that would be considering it’s the offseason. Do you have any way of contacting him or forwarding this message/link to him?

    Also in the sake of being honest, I must admit I am a die-hard Yankee fan, but after witnessing what my cousin has been through, contacting Red Sox players seems miniscule. We’re all on the same team for this, right?

    My prayers are with your friend and his family. I hope they get through this difficult time.

    Thank you for your time, (the link for my donation site is below)
    Pamela Downing

    If anyone else reading this would like to donate or has any questions, feel free to email me at pdownin1@ithaca.edu

    http://www.active.com/donate/tntwhv/PamelaDowning

  13. pemliza permalink
    January 19, 2008 11:35 pm

    Curt, what a wonderful, wonderful thing for you to post!! I wish that more men would be aware of the dangers of prostate cancer. When I was 13, my dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer. It was originally misdiagnosed & was not treated properly. I ended up losing my dad when I was 15. He was 55 years old. I know that both my mom & I remind my brothers every year to please, please be checked. the worst memories I have in my life are of watching my dad die of cancer.

    My dad was a huge Sox fan. He didn’t live to see you lead the Sox to a WS win in 04, but we all felt a part of him was with us that October!

  14. swep1 permalink
    January 20, 2008 10:13 am

    Curt,

    Thanks for the post which hopefully will raise awareness, especially among younger men in our society who many times believe that they are invincible. I treat cancer patients every day, in fact, on this Sunday morning I write this from my desk in the Cancer Institute. By the time patients reach my practice site, their cancers are often long past the point of simple surgical resection and often past the point of gaining a cure from the best chemotherapy we have available. We hold benefits and fundraisers nearly daily in this country to raise money for cancer research, we lobby the government for more money for research as well, when, in reality, perhaps we need to spend more money encouraging Americans to think proactively about wellness and screening visits to their physicians and catching cancer at an early enough stage that we can treat the patient with much better outcomes.

    Curt, it often takes people with recognizable names like yours to serve as a spokesperson for change in this country. Please, continue to use your website and your voice to raise awareness about cancer research and treatment.

  15. geoff1021 permalink
    January 20, 2008 1:20 pm

    Curt, I love your website and find your information very informative. I hope to God Roger Clemens can clear his name. He is the greatest pitcher I have ever seen.

    Ok, now onto the Sox. Will Santana be on the opening day roster? What is your opinion?

    Thanks,
    Geoff G.

  16. geoff1021 permalink
    January 20, 2008 1:23 pm

    Curt,

    How is training going at the API? What supplements are you currently taking? How much weight have you lost so far? I am so looking forward to seeing you regain your dominancy this spring! I , like yourself, truely believe your conditioning had a lot to do with your performance last year.

    Keep up the hard work!

    Thanks,
    Geoff G.

  17. yanoff permalink
    January 20, 2008 8:02 pm

    I remember your Phillies teammate, John Kruk, discovered he had testicular cancer when Mitch “Wild Thing” Williams thew a pickoff attempt to him at first base that shattered his cup. When Kruk got checked out by the doctor, he found out he had testicular cancer and Wild Thing’s throw may be credited with saving Kruk’s life. (Moral of the story? Check yourself, men!)

    I can’t end this posting without mentioning that there is more and more evidence that what a man eats relates to his chances of getting prostate cancer. The letter you received, Curt, even mentioned that there was no family history of cancer. For more information, visit http://www.cancerproject.org/survival/cancer_facts/prostate.php which states that “Cancer of the prostate is strongly linked to what men eat. Again, animal products are consistently indicted: Milk, meat, eggs, cheese, cream, butter, and fats are found, in one research study after another, to be linked to prostate cancer.”

    Cheers,
    -Scott

  18. tps096 permalink
    January 20, 2008 11:51 pm

    What a cosincidence that I should pull up your Blog tonight and read this. My doctor scheduled me for a PSA test two weeks ago and I am going to get my results Monday morning (21st). I hope I am more fortunate than some of the others who have replied here.

  19. whatswrongwithsports permalink
    February 8, 2008 7:27 am

    I really find it hard to believe that you REALLY thought yoyur shoulder was ok when you signed..I think you know your body better than any doctor. very sad, one, that you have the injury, two that the team must put out 8million dollars for someone who WILLNOT pitch this year. How about danating the entire sum to a charitable organization.

    Good luck with your rehab. and THANK YOU for the great memories I will always have of you.

  20. dolphins72 permalink
    February 8, 2008 8:58 am

    Curt,
    I hope you get better soon!
    My comment about all of this is that I’m so tired of seeing millionaire athletes getting new contracts and finding out they have an injury that prevents them from starting the season. Imagine if I intervieved for a job, got hired, was told to start in two weeks and then I called them and said I had an injury. Do you think I would get a check from them every week without actually working? What has happened here is definetly ONE of the things that is wrong with professional sports. It’s also another reason the average Joe like me can’t take his 2 kids to a football, basketball or a baseball game. I’m a Red Sox fan since 75′ and there isn’t one player I’ve been more proud of than YOU. You are alway’s the guy who speaks his mind publicly. I’ve seen you pitch through pain. I love it! Thank you Curt…

    I’m on disability pay because I have Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. I’m having my Spleen removed on 02/18 because it’s full of Cancer and it’s eating up my Platelets. No Platelets, no more chemo. I’m almost at the point of having to go into foreclosure because I’ve lost most of my pay. It’s just not fair that I should lose my home because of disease and athletes sit on the bench collecting there full pay (millions). I hope you can see my point.

    I hope you’re not mad at me for speaking my mind.
    Mike Barker
    Brentwood, CA

  21. gregsteff permalink
    February 8, 2008 9:06 am

    I think Curt has earned the right to choose which treatment he will take to fix the problem. I hope the Redsox are not worried about the 8 million dollar contract, in these days of baseball money, that is far less that the 22 millon they are paying Santana to pitch for the mets.
    Curt has always been a top noch player in this league, he is a veteran, who I think will some day be in the Hall of Fame, and he has always given his all to the teams he has pitched for, he is more worried about the team’s sucsess than his own.
    I really admire Curt, for what he has given to the game of Baseball, and how he has represented himself, and let’s remember he is not in front of the congress answering questions about steriod use.

  22. gnahamel permalink
    February 8, 2008 11:46 am

    Curt,

    Nice work. Looks like you’ll be lucky to throw 38 pitches this year huh? If you hang around long enough you just might bring the curse back.

    GNAHamel

  23. knick4433 permalink
    February 8, 2008 1:52 pm

    You are a lying ass dog. You knew your shoulder was hurt. I have never liked you. When you left the phillies for selfish reasons is pretty much when it began. Then you bashed Bonds out of jealousy and said you didnt want to go to the giants because you didnt like him. I am not even a giants fan. I am an A’s fan. I thought that was a pretty lame move. Then you bashed him again last year. Why hasnt Bonds worked you over? You dont publicly call somebody a cheater when you are a liar and a cheat too. I saw you r eyes when espn asked you about the alleged bloody sock and I knew you were lying. You should give the money back or pitch through the pain. Way to take atvantage of your team. If you dont pitch you should go to jail for grand theft. You see the thing is if you pull this crap and pretend you didnt know your shoulder was hurt you are no better than Bonds. WAR bonds kicking your candy ass!

  24. sunniejam77 permalink
    February 8, 2008 3:15 pm

    My brother was diagnosed with prostate cancer just after he turned 50. Thank goodness he has a wife who nagged him until he went for his yearly checkup. It was caught early, he had surgery,and is cancer free. Our Dad passed away from lymphoma in 1980 at the age of 60. Several members of my family have had cancer or died of it, all males. I think the prostate test should be done from age 35.

  25. dannyboy11 permalink
    February 8, 2008 7:41 pm

    Well Curt for what it is worth, I have pretty tough arthritis in both shoulders from years of bodybuilding and powerlifting. I had about 6 shots of cortizonein each shoulder. Got to the point where I stopped lifting for a while. I saw this cream with Ibprofen and lidocaine on the internet. Well I tried everything else. I bought a couple of jars and guess what? My shoulders are doing great and I’m back to lifting weights 4 times a week. I never needed another cortizone shot. It’s called Lopain AF. It also has MSM and devils claw which are natural anti inflamatorys. So a cream with Ibprofen, Lidocaine( topical pain killer) MSM and devils claw worked on me. Go to http://www.geromatrix.com and give it a shot.

  26. fanbutterfliesarefree permalink
    February 9, 2008 9:54 am

    Curt Schilling: I feel that you should do what is best for your shoulder. I practice a form of yoga and it is great for all aspects of the body but sometimes modern medicine has to be first. Once you are healed, you may then go back to pitching. But while pitching, practice something that keeps your shoulder healthy. You know best what pitching does to ones’ shoulder. I feel that you are the greatest pitcher of our times. Give us more memories. Let your shoulder get well.

  27. mattcarbone permalink
    February 9, 2008 1:29 pm

    Curt,

    I’m sorry to hear that you are hurting. I never write in these things, but I’ve noticed a trend with your mind set and other peers that are 40+ year old. If your Doctor’s have diagnosed you with “frozen shoulder,” and you’ve ever experienced any lower back spasms in the past, then please read any book written by Doctor John E. Sarno M.D. and/or Marc Sopher, M.D. (Easy reading!)

    Remember, even though you are a super star, you are human, and these guys have helped thousands help themselves. Don’t get cut open when you may not have to… I’m sure your local library has one of their books you can pull out for free. It is worth the couple hours to read over their stuff…trust me.

    I hope you have a speedy recovery and look forward to seeing you play in 2008! Get on it…the “Nation” awaits your quick return!

    Matt

  28. mattcarbone permalink
    February 9, 2008 1:32 pm

    Curt,

    I’m sorry to hear that you are hurting. I never write in these things, but I’ve noticed a trend with your mind set and other peers that are 40+ year old. If your Doctor’s have diagnosed you with “frozen shoulder,” and you’ve ever experienced any lower back spasms in the past, then please read any book written by Doctor John E. Sarno M.D. and/or Marc Sopher, M.D. (Easy reading!)

    Remember, even though you are a super star, you are human, and these guys have helped thousands help themselves. Don’t get cut open when you may not have to… I’m sure your local library has one of their books you can pull out for free. It is worth the couple hours to read over their stuff…trust me.

    I hope you have a speedy recovery and look forward to seeing you play in 2008! Get on it…the “Nation” awaits your quick return!

    Matt

  29. bigtlaw permalink
    February 19, 2008 12:43 pm

    dirty curty……I wondered why you signed so fast……I pitched for 30 years, little league and up…….I always new when my arm was sore, take the money and run “fat-cat”

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38 Pitches

Curt Schilling's Official Blog

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