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Hart brothers, Bret and Smith, champion for prostate cancer screenings
Published Tuesday, February 7, 2017 5:21PM MST
Last Updated Tuesday, February 7, 2017 6:57PM MST
It’s been nearly a year since former pro wrestler Bret ‘Hitman’ Hart underwent successful treatment for prostate cancer but his brother Smith, who was also diagnosed with the disease, is unlikely to celebrate a similar victory.
“In my case, I had early detection. I was under surveillance, active surveillance, and I was tested and checked and sort of forewarned that I was going to probably have prostate cancer,” said Bret. “I was told a year before I actually had cancer that I was heading that direction.”
“That active surveillance ended up saving me but my brother Smith, who, like a lot of men, never thought to get checked and now we’re in a situation where I’ve had surgery. I’m now in a less than three per cent danger area.”
Smith, who is 68 years old, was told he will not survive his bout with prostate cancer as the disease went undetected, and untreated, for too long.
According to Bret and Smith, their differing fates are due to the fact Bret underwent a PSA (prostate specific antigen) blood test that caught the cancer before it had spread.
Smith says he avoided have his PSA levels checked as he subscribes to the ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ motto and he felt relatively fine prior to his diagnosis.
Urologist Dr. Bryan Donnelly agrees PSAs are paramount for early detection.
“In the opinion of urologists around the world and those of us who treat cancer, we all strongly believe in the value and benefit of PSA,” “We know it’s not a perfect tool but it is the best tool that we have available to us.”
“There’s no question there’s a high incidence of false positives. About 50 per cent of the men who have an elevated PSA do not have prostate cancer,” adds Donnelly. “We send some men for a biopsy who do not have cancer but, as yet, the only we have to rule out cancer is to put them through a biopsy.”
In an attempt to help others from following in Smith’s footsteps, the brothers have launched an awareness campaign to convince all men over the age of 40 to take the blood test, a screening that could mean the difference between life and death.
“Prostate cancer is a cancer that doesn’t need to be a death sentence. It doesn’t need to be the end of the road for you,” said Bret. “All you’ve got to do is get your blood tests done, get your PSA levels checked. It can save your life. My brother Smith is here, unfortunately, to tell people the urgency of that message.”
Bret Hart will make an appearance at the Calgary Prostate Centre at the Rocky View Hospital on Friday, February 10 for Bret Hart Men’s Health Day where he will greet those who take part in a free screening drive at the men’s health clinic. The tests will start at 9:00 a.m. and the first 150 men to attend will receive free screenings.