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Local Man's Journey with Prostate Cancer


Faith, Love and Medicine
Gastonia pastor says trio is helping him fight prostate cancer

Jerry Davis, 69, is healthy and full of life. The father of two children, four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren and the Associate Pastor at his home church, AME Zion in York, SC, Mr. Davis knows the true meaning of serving others and living life to the fullest. So, when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer, it came as a huge shock to him and his wife, Bonita.

Like many others, Mr. Davis didn’t have any symptoms. He felt great and exercised regularly. He and his wife like to walk during the week at the local mall in Gastonia, and he also enjoys a tennis match from time to time.

Mr. Davis had been receiving annual prostate screens for a number of years, but his last screen revealed a high Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA), which can be indicative of prostate cancer. A biopsy and further test results later confirmed this diagnosis.

Circumstances do exist in which symptoms can go undetected and various factors can cause a man’s PSA level to fluctuate such as age or certain medications. If a doctor detects elevated PSA level in a man who has no symptoms of prostate cancer, the doctor may recommend another PSA test to confirm the original finding. If the PSA level is still high, the doctor may recommend continuing PSA tests and DREs (digital rectal exams) at regular intervals to watch for any changes over time. However, in general, the higher a man’s PSA level, the more likely it is that he has prostate cancer, and continuous rise in a man’s PSA level over time may also be a sign of prostate cancer.

Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in men affecting one in seven American men, and the prevalence in African American men is 1.6 times greater than Caucasian men. Although experts do not yet understand why prostate cancer incidence are higher among African- American men, it is widely believed that a combination of genetic differences, lifestyle and nutrition habits, and medical care may all play a role in the statistics.

“If detected in its early stages, prostate cancer is highly treatable and most men go on to live normal, healthy lives after treatment and recovery,” said Jerome Butler, MD. “Being aware of risk factors is critical to prevention and long-term health.”

Prostate cancer only affects men and is a serious health concern as men age. It occurs when some of the cells in the prostate abnormally reproduce more rapidly, resulting in a tumor. A serious risk is that most prostate cancers develop in men without any symptoms in its early stages and if left untreated, can spread to other parts of the body and produce secondary tumors. Though no test is perfect, routine annual screenings can help to detect prostate cancer early on before the disease progresses.

“To prevent undetected prostate cancer, it is recommended that men should receive an annual prostate screen beginning at age 50,” said Dr. Butler. “For men at a higher risk, such as African American men, those who have poor lifestyle habits and those with a family history of prostate cancer, screening should start as early as age 40.”

“I asked my pastor if I could share my story to the church congregation so that they can understand the importance of getting screened and taking care of their health,” said Mr. Davis. “We’re all going to get sick at some time or another, but if I can save another person through my story, I feel good about that.”

CaroMont Cancer Center provides advanced treatment therapies, as well as a multidisciplinary team, to determine the most effective analysis and treatment methods for each person. Following surgery, Mr. Davis is now receiving hormone therapy treatment and external beam radiation under the care of Radiation Oncologist Jerome Butler, MD. He has 10 more treatments to go, but he’s happy to know that his cancer was identified and now being treated.

When asked what he would tell others who might be reluctant to get screened, Mr. Davis said, “I would tell them first of all, cancer is not a death sentence, but it’s important to get screened so doctors can catch it early.”

Through his surgery and current treatment, Mr. Davis says he has felt great and credits this to the excellent care from his doctors, his wife and his strong faith. After he’s done with radiation, he and his wife want to take a vacation to Hawaii, a place they have always wanted to visit. Mr. and Mrs. Davis live in Gastonia.

For more information about prostate cancer and the CaroMont Cancer Center, please visit

To view the article in The Gaston Gazette, click here.

Categories: Health