TV personality Dr. Drew Pinsky is cancer-free following a harrowing two-year battle with prostate cancer that culminated in surgery this past summer.
Pinsky, 55, learned he had prostate cancer after feeling ill following a Caribbean vacation two years ago. A routine doctor's visit revealed he had a low-grade tumor in his prostate. The "Dr. Drew" star underwent surgery in July 2013.
"While many of you were celebrating the Fourth of July, I was at home on my couch recovering from a radical robotic prostatectomy," Pinsky wrote on HLN TV Sept. 24.
"Four hours of surgery had left me in great pain, without an appetite, and in need of help from my college-age son, Jordan, to get up and lie down. But I was cancer-free for the first time in at least two years."
Dr. Drew, a board-certified internist and addiction specialist, was reluctant to see a doctor but eventually went, thanks to his wife Susan's persistence. He says men should be vigilant about their health because over 50 percent of them will get prostate cancer before age 80.
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 200,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer annually in the United States.
Fortunately, the survival rate for prostate cancer is fairly high, according to the American Cancer Society, which is why early detection is key. In the most recent data, when including all men with prostate cancer:
- The relative five-year survival rate is over 99 percent.
- The relative 10-year survival rate is 98 percent.
- The 15-year relative survival rate is 93 percent.
A major problem with prostate cancer is its insidious nature. "Prostate cancer is a stealth disease," said Dr. Drew. "It rarely announces its presence. It can simmer for a long time without coming to a boil. A low-grade tumor can remain just that, for a very long time."
Pinsky, who usually runs five miles several days a week, returned to work 10 days post-surgery and is doing well. He said he has a healthy sex drive and bladder and erectile function — major concerns among prostate-cancer patients.
"I am working out again, eating well and feeling very good," he said. "I’ll begin running again soon. The only remnant of cancer surgery is six small scars on my torso. They are fading fast. I’m hopeful I am cured."