From the Worldwide Faith News archives

[PCUSANEWS] First things first

Date 11 Jun 2002 09:29:45 -0400

Note #7201 from PCUSA NEWS to PRESBYNEWS:

First things first

First things first

Van Marter will attend his 25th GA, then have prostate operation

by Jerry L. Van Marter

LOUISVILLE - In late April I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. I will undergo surgery to have my prostate removed on June 24. My doctors are confident that removing the prostate will eliminate the cancer.

I will be off work from the end of the General Assembly until Aug. 5. During my convalescence, the Rev. Alexa Smith will serve as editor of the Presbyterian News Service (PNS). Smith, a Presbyterian minister who worked as a newspaper reporter before joining PNS in 1993, is well-known to most readers of Presbyterian news. Reporters Evan Silverstein and John Filiatreau will be working all summer.

Smith can be reached by phone (toll-free) at (888) 728-7228, ext. 5494. Her email address is

Because prostate trouble, including cancer, afflicts most men as they get older, I'll share some of what I have learned about it so far: 

* Get a PSA test: My cancer was discovered during a routine annual physical examination by the PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) test. I have had NO symptoms. Over 45? Get the test.

* Knowledge really is power: When I first learned that I have cancer, I was terrified. But reading about the disease and talking with other people about their experiences with it have made me more confident that I will be cured. A wealth of information is available from doctors and friends and on the Web.

* Find doctors that inspire confidence:  I talked to numerous oncologists, surgeons and urologists - and friends who have survived prostate cancer - before deciding on a surgeon. That was the most difficult decision I've had to make. Feeling good about the people treating you is crucial to physical, mental and emotional health.

* Prayer is the best medicine: I decided right away to talk openly about the disease and solicit prayers from as many people as I could. The response has been tremendous and I feel its healing power.

* Thank God for the Board of Pensions! The medical bills are staggering, but my bank account, such as it is, is intact.
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