BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Readers across the country are remembering best-selling author Vince Flynn. He died from prostate cancer earlier this week.
And Gigi Barnett reports–doctors say he could become the poster child for a return to early screenings.
Last month, one of the nation’s top urology groups changed its screening guidelines for prostate cancer in younger men. Now some doctors fear that by the time those men see symptoms, it could be too late.
In life, best-selling novelist Vince Flynn was known for his CIA thrillers. Some of his fans included former President George W. Bush.
Three years ago, he was diagnosed with aggressive prostate cancer. This week, the 47-year-old lost his battle.
Now, doctors nationwide, and here in Baltimore, are using Flynn’s death to encourage more men to get screened.
“There’s no reason that men have to die from prostate cancer,” said Dr. Sanford Siegel, urologist.
Dr. Siegel, a urologist at Chesapeake Urology Associates, is leading the charge in Maryland.
He says more and more men are being tested. And the number of prostate cancer deaths has dropped from 40,000 a year back in the early ’90s, when the most common type of testing began, to an estimated 28,000 this year.
But Siegel says new screening guidelines could put younger men at greater risk.
“A lot of the doctors out there who don’t understand the disease will say to their patients, ‘I don’t think you really need a PSA.’ What happens is they’ll go listen and they won’t get the test done,” he said.
Siegel says the group most at risk of developing the illness is black men who have some family history.
And, now that the recommended age for screenings has been pushed back from 40 to 50-years-old, he fears the death rate from prostate cancer will rise.
“We have to take personal responsibility for our own health,” Frederick Scott said.
That’s why Frederick Scott insisted on having the screening a few years ago, even though he was younger than the recommended age at the time.
Scott says it’s his seven-year-old son he’s thinking about.
“I want to see him grow up, I want to possibly see my grandchildren. And so, I want to be around for that,” he said.
Doctors say Flynn could be a poster child for a return to the screening in younger men. That’s because he was 44 when he was diagnosed–well below the current screening age.
A free prostate cancer screening will take place this Sunday between 8:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. at Bethel AME Church on Druid Hill Avenue in Baltimore.