Hub City pastor shares story to raise prostate cancer awareness

Hattiesburg pastor Knox Baird said he learned a valuable lesson over the last year - don’t ignore your yearly checkups.
Published: Sep. 29, 2022 at 6:12 PM CDT
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PINE BELT, Miss. (WDAM) - Hattiesburg pastor Knox Baird said he learned a valuable lesson over the last year - don’t ignore your yearly checkups.

“But I was a bad boy,” Baird said. “I had not been to the doctor for about three years; my primary physician retired. Like most men, I didn’t go back.”

Baird finally went to his cardiologist. He said something told him to ask for the number of his PSA test, a blood test used to screen for prostate cancer.

“I noticed it was a little bit higher than three years previously,” Baird said.

Baird was eventually referred to Hattiesburg Clinic Urologist Dr. John Moore in 2021. In July of that year, Moore took another PSA test.

“He told me when I came in, he said, ’If we check your PSA number and it’s gone up a little bit, I want to do a biopsy,’ and sure enough, it had gone up a little bit,” Baird said. “I had a biopsy, and then I found out I had prostate cancer.”

Baird said he couldn’t believe he had cancer. He said he felt fine, with no symptoms. Moore said that’s unfortunately common with prostate cancer.

“The vast majority of people don’t really have symptoms to start with,” Baird said.

Moore said the PSA blood test is critical for men ages 55 to 75.

“It’s something called Prostate-Specific Antigen,” Moore said. “Thankfully, your prostate is the only organ in the body that makes PSA. So, we follow PSA to make sure that there’s no changes in the rate of it or of it going too high.”

Moore said if the number goes up, as Baird’s did, that’s when he talks to his patients about a biopsy. If there is evidence of cancer, he then goes over treatment options - The first one, wait and do nothing.

“Normally, that’s reserved for people with very low-grade cancers. Or, if we have significant other medical issues that would prevent a great treatment outcome,” Moore said.

Moore said there are also forms of radiation therapy and robotic surgery.

“A minimally invasive procedure, where we make about six small incisions, and we use the robot to go in and take out the prostate there,” Moore said. “Most patients stay in the hospital for about a day after it and go home the next day after surgery.”

Baird chose the surgical option. Now, one year later, he said he is cancer free.

“I can’t urge men that are watching this enough to get your PSA number checked to have a baseline; so far, my PSA number has been zero,” Baird said.

Moore said there isn’t much men can do to prevent prostate cancer. Instead, he said to maintain a healthy diet, your health and address other medical issues.

He also said to pay attention to these risk factors: if you are an African American man, you are at a higher risk; if you have a family history; and finally, ages 55 to 75 need to have their PSA number checked.

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