For Bill Rhodes, the endless debate over the value of PSA screening trivializes the anguish of men who are at high risk of prostate cancer. A partner at Ballard Spahr LLP, Rhodes is also a prostate cancer survivor.

"My first PSA test was for my mother's mental health," said Rhodes. "My doctor raised an eyebrow at the idea of a 29-year-old getting a PSA, but he understood my mother's worry - my father had died of prostate cancer about two months before."

Diagnosed in 1990 at age 60, Rhodes' father had been treated for the disease with what were then state-of-the-art surgical procedures at Johns Hopkins. But the cancer had already metastasized. He died at 64.

Rhodes followed his urologist’s recommendation to have a PSA test performed during his routine physicals. All was normal, until at age 48 his PSA test came back at 2.2.

Following a second test and others including a biopsy, results showed cancer throughout his prostate.

"I couldn't have had the surgery fast enough," said Rhodes. "I was scared, but at such times I think you do your research and you find a surgeon with whom you feel comfortable and you put yourself in their hands."

"I was aware that it was very treatable if caught early enough," he said. "And though the cancer appeared in a majority of biopsy samples showing that it had spread in different areas of the prostate, it was still early."

September is designated Prostate Awareness month. Rhodes has joined with his law firm and the Prostate Cancer Foundation to promote prostate cancer awareness. In an email campaign, the firm is working to inform employees about early detection, treatment, and identification of risk factors for prostate cancer, as well as information about advancements in diagnosis, treatment, survival rates and quality-of-life issues.

"For someone like me, with a history of prostate cancer in the family, waiting until I was 50 to get PSA testing could have been an unfortunate choice," he said. "In a case like mine, the PSA was lifesaving."