Former pro wrestler Bret Hart is urging men to get PSA testing as he fights his own prostate cancer.

When Hart got his cancer diagnosis, he was shocked that it could have happened to him.

“I was always somebody who had regular physical exams, I really didn’t have any symptoms, in my mind I was very young and very healthy, not a smoker and not a heavy drinker, and I never saw myself as a candidate for cancer or prostate cancer.”

But in 2013 he tested high on a test for prostate-specific antigen, or PSA. Elevated PSA levels are often connected to prostate cancer, and further testing showed Hart had a slow-growing cancer.

“About 30% of those people do progress on to have more significant disease, and that’s what happened to Bret as we were following him along for just over two years,” said Dr. Eric Hyndman, Hart’s doctor. Hart decided to go ahead with surgery, and doctors believe they were able to remove all of the cancer.

At first, Hart didn’t want to talk about having prostate cancer, but thought it over and decided other men could learn from his experience.

“I’m lucky I caught the cancer when I did and it’s always a tough thing to go through, accepting the diagnosis was difficult for me, to swallow that I actually did have cancer of the prostate,” he said. “It turned out to be the best thing I ever did was to go get my PSA levels checked all of the time and stay on top of my exams and follow-ups and whatnot.”

One in seven men in Alberta will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetime. When detected early, prostate cancer is one of the most successfully treated types of cancer. 

The Prostate Cancer Centre at Rockyview Hospital recommends that men get their PSA level checked starting at age 40. You can be tested by seeing your doctor, or by visiting the Man Van.