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Decatur mayor diagnosed with prostate cancer
Kyle to undergo surgery Monday

By Chris Paschenko
· · 340-2442

Decatur Mayor Don Kyle hopes and prays he will be cancer free before lunchtime.

The first-term mayor said last week that he scheduled surgery Monday morning for prostate cancer, a disease of the prostate gland that experts predict will inflict one in six American men.

Kyle, 56, said he isn’t terribly troubled because his doctor diagnosed the cancer early and his prognosis for a full recovery is excellent.

“I’ve been monitoring it every six months for the last six years because my prostate-specific antigen was slightly high,” Kyle said. “It’s weird, because it’s almost a sense of relief, wondering every six months what the diagnosis would be.”

According to the Prostate Cancer Foundation, the blood test for prostate-specific antigen is one of two tests used to screen for prostate cancer.

Kyle said his third biopsy detected the disease Jan. 7.

“When it’s caught early, there’s a better than 90 percent chance the surgery will remove the cancer,” he said. “I’m told the gland is roughly the size of a walnut and that this is one of the reasons it will enlarge. A doctor told me that 80 percent of men over 50 years old will develop an enlarged prostate.”

Dr. Lane Mathis Price, a radiation oncologist at Decatur General Hospital, said patients without a family history of the disease should begin screening for prostate cancer at age 45.

“In African Americans, it occurs at an earlier age,” Price said. “And they should begin checking at age 40. If a person has a family history of having cancer, you generally back it up three to five years, but there is no absolute on that.”

Price recommends both a prostate-specific antigen test and digital rectal exam to detect the cancer.

“Generally it grows slowly, but in younger people it can grow much more aggressively,” she said. “In a 65-year-old man, it is much slower growing.”

Because the cancer is slow going, Kyle said early detection usually means the disease is confined within the gland.

“But if gone undetected long enough, it could spread to other parts of the body,” he said. “Then the expectations aren’t very positive.”

Kyle said he should be under the knife at 7 a.m. with the procedure lasting about 21/2 to three hours.

He declined to name the hospital or doctor he selected until after the procedure, saying he didn’t want to place any undo pressure on the doctor performing the surgery.

“Without complications I should be home the following day,” Kyle said. “I’ll be confined to the house for a couple of weeks, but then I’ll be back on the job part time, depending on how I feel.”

Kyle said he should return to work full time within a month.

A longtime smoker, Kyle said he gave up cigarettes two weeks ago and hasn’t had a puff since. He said quitting as early as a week prior to surgery could increase his blood circulation. He said he wants to give up his smoking habit completely.

“I’m looking forward to having the procedure and then putting it behind me and moving forward,” he said. “You can’t keep a workaholic gone for very long.”

Kyle said Council President Billy Jackson would “take up the slack” in his absence.

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