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Fishing guide back on the lake after life-saving cancer screening

Gary Shultz said a life-saving cancer screening has enabled him to continue doing what he loves - being a fishing guide. (MU Health Care)

Most days, you’ll find Gary Shultz on the water.

After working for 30 years as a teacher and coach, Shultz spends his time as a bass fishing guide at Lake of the Ozarks. He never imagined retirement would also include a battle with prostate cancer.

“I felt fine. I was coaching and fishing. I had an active lifestyle. Nothing was bothering me, and bam, I’ve got it,” Shultz said.

Like Shultz, one in nine American men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer. Other than skin cancer, it’s the most common cancer in men.

“For some reason, we don’t want to talk about prostate cancer, and I don’t know why, because it will kill you,” said Shultz.

Because early-stage prostate cancer often has no symptoms, doctors at University of Missouri Health Care recommend a prostate-specific antigen, or PSA, test for men between the ages of 55 and 69. African-American men and those with a family history of the disease should begin screening even sooner.

“PSA is a screening tool for prostate cancer. It’s a simple blood test that your doctor can order along with other routine bloodwork,” said Katie Murray, DO, a urologic oncologist at MU Health Care.

With early detection, the prognosis for prostate cancer is very good. Surgeons removed Shultz’s prostate during a robotic-assisted surgery.

“There is a lot less pain when compared to open surgery, so most patients typically stay overnight and go home the next day,” said Naveen Pokala, MD, director of robotic urology at MU Health Care.

For Shultz, that meant returning to the lake sooner. He now encourages all men to talk to their primary care physician about PSA screening.

“It’s an easy test. It’s nothing to be afraid of, and it will save your life,” said Shultz.

You can find more information on prostate cancer and schedule a screening here.

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