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Byline: Harry Jackson Jr.
ST. LOUIS _ Don Holt had doubts about the cancer surgery he had to face right up to the last minute.
He called friends and family to hear something, but he wasn't sure what he wanted to hear. A talk with his daughter filled in the blank.
"She said I had two choices," Holt, 64, recalled. "Did I want to see my grandbabies grow up, or not. I said, `Oh. I do want to see them grow up.' "
The next day, he was in surgery, the one surgery that men seem to dread more than any other.
His prostate gland had turned on him. Its primary purpose is to provide nourishment and fluid for sperm during reproductive acts. Instead, his had started causing him nagging physical problems and turned into a cancer that could cost him his life.
The saga began five years ago.
During a casual conversation with a friend in Kansas City, Mo., Holt found that the friend had experienced the same symptoms Holt had been having. The friend told him it was cancer, and he had beaten it.
"He was very open with me and shared the process with me. And he said, `Look Don, you need to get to the doctor.' Subsequently I went and had a PSA test."
The PSA is a blood test that looks for a chemical that tends to increase in the blood when someone has prostate cancer.
The high reading led to another test, the digital rectal exam. Many men feel this exam threatens their manhood, Holt said. "I had a preacher tell me once from the pulpit, he'd never have a rectal exam."
"I'm into computers, so when he said digital, I though there was some sort of mechanism he'd use," Holt laughed. "But when he said bend over . . ."
The digital rectal exam is …