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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Most men diagnosed with prostate cancer will survive, but their lives will never be the same.
Michael “Doughnuts” Wegner did have it good – enjoying his scenic patch of land in Wisconsin that overlooks the St. Croix River Valley, a loving family, and his great job. In the 80s, Wegner dominated morning radio on the Knapp and Doughnuts show – rubbing elbows with celebrities like Hulk Hogan and Kenny Rogers.
“All I had to do was get a laugh out of somebody and I was happy,” Wegner said.
His good life was dealt a reality check about a year ago when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer.
“I don’t like to admit it, but when I drove home that day (makes crying motion with his hands) it was like I felt sorry for myself,” he said. “I could’ve had the cancer for five years or more they think so we had to do drastic action.”
Michael agreed to have his prostate and bladder removed, followed by chemotherapy.
Dr. Parker Eberwein is the head of urology at HealthPartners. While prostate cancer is very common in aging men, he says many will survive.
“Twenty percent of men are going to be diagnosed with prostate cancer sometime during their life,” Eberwein said.
So why can prostate cancer be fatal and sometimes not?
“Sometimes it can be extremely aggressive. Most of the time fortunately it’s not,” he said. “We don’t have a perfect test to tell us who will die from the disease and who won’t if we don’t treat them.”
Dr. Eberwein says surgery and chemo can be a hard pill to swallow for patients. Common side effects with surgery are bladder control issues and erectile dysfunction.
Michael says his cancer was so advanced that his focus was on something else.
“You worry more about living,” he said.
His doctors tell Michael he’s now cancer free. After complications with the surgeries he’s on a slow road to recovery, hoping to get back to the good life.
“I just want to feel better, so I can walk to the barn,” he said.
Like so many men, Michael admits he waited too long to see a doctor, and doesn’t want others to make the same mistake.
Michael noticed blood in his urine, and by that time the cancer was fairly advanced.
Doctors recommend getting screened as part of an annual physical at age 40.