SAN ANTONIO -- Tens of thousands of men die from prostate cancer every year in the U.S. If it's caught early your chance of survival goes up significantly.

"I can't talk for other men but anything that can prolong my life I'm going to go ahead, and whatever tests come along, I have to go ahead and take it," said Earl Whitley after tackling prostate cancer.

A few years ago, he found out he had the disease after several tests.

"They found a little spot and said it was cancerous so they went ahead and removed it," Whitley said.

"It is one of the leading causes of cancer deaths in men so it is important that patients have a conversation with their doctor about screening and about signs and symptoms to watch out for," said University Health System physician Dr. Patrick Pierre.

Some of the symptoms of prostate cancer include, difficulty starting urination, weak and frequent urination, pain or burning during urination, blood in the urine, and pain in the back, hips, or pelvis. Men shouldn't wait to get checked until they have these symptoms, but by age 50, or earlier if you have a family history.

"If you are of a certain ethnic race, African-Americans are shown to have prostate cancer at an earlier age," said UT Medicine Oncologist Dr. Deva Mahalingam.

"There is nothing to it. If you are 45 or 50 years old and if you feel like something is wrong. If you feel like you have prostate cancer go on and have it checked. It's so simple," Whitley said.

Now cancer free, Whitley said if you don't do it for yourself, do it for your family.

"I wanted to live for the children and grandkids. I didn't want them to say where is Pawpaw? Well he died. What happened to him? He had the prostate and didn't get it checked," he said.

For more men's health information call 210-358-3045.

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