State lawmaker credits old-fashioned exam for positive cancer outcome

Rep. Bo Brown says good health and “digital” exam helped him detect, beat prostate cancer
Published: Sep. 29, 2021 at 9:44 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - State Representative Bo Brown, who served as a member of the Jackson City Council in the late 1990s and early 2000s, says he has been working out three to four days a week for more than 30 years.

He has also made it a habit to see his doctor on a regular basis.

“He insisted at least once a year, if not every six months when I went to get check-ups, that he do a digital examination of my prostate,” Brown recalls. “And you know what that involves. The big index finger. Most men are very, very frightened of that simple test, but my doctor insisted on it.”

That’s a good thing, because during one of those exams about 14 years ago, his doctor was a little concerned. Brown’s Prostate-Specific Antigen blood test, which can be an indicator of prostate cancer, was normal, but the doctor detected something unusual through the “digital” exam.

“In spite of the PSA test being normal, he said, ‘I feel a few little jagged edges around your prostate, and it doesn’t feel as smooth as it should feel.’”

Brown’s doctor referred him to a urologist, who performed a biopsy. The results confirmed that Brown had prostate cancer. It was the same kind of cancer that had killed his brother when he was in his mid-50s because it wasn’t caught early enough.

“I knew it was in the family, so my first thought was, Doc, let’s go to work and take care of it.”

Brown was treated with radiation instead of surgery, and his follow-up exams have all been good so far.

“I give all the credit and glory to God that my PSAs have always been around 0.1, which is very, very good.”

He is also grateful for that old-fashioned exam that caught the problem so soon, so he could continue the active life he has enjoyed for so many years.

“I’ve always been conscious of my health and my condition... You have to be proactive with your body.”

Brown also survived a bout with COVID-19 in July of 2020, before the vaccines were available. He is now encouraging everyone to get vaccinated -- in addition to getting their prostate checked.

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