Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Prostate Scan Now: Episode 1 (Host: Cousin Sal Banchitta - Ret FDNY FF)


My name is Sal Banchitta- aka- Cousin Sal. I've had an incredible 30+ year career in the NY Fire Department, what so many of considered to be the best job in the world. There is no other profession that even comes close to the rewards of being a city firefighter. We were the first and last line of defense to protect this great city from any catastrophe and aligned with a special family of the most unique and remarkable men and women is truly the ultimate blessing. 

PROSTATE SCAN NOW: I welcome you to view our pilot episode in support of proactive checkups and Prostate Health!  I'm speaking to all my dude-friends in their 50's who need to start taking their health more seriously, while applauding those who have stayed on top of early detection and prevention. One such person is my latest hero in this- Mr. Barrie Kolstein. Check out our feature on this great motivator and role model!


"Prostate cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death in American men, behind only lung cancer."  (Source- American Cancer Assoc)

"...leading cause of cancer death among men in the US, with 94 men dying from it every day." (Source: pcf.org)

"More than 3.3 million men in the United States who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point are still alive today". (Source- American Cancer Assoc)

Can we still Trust PSA Blood Test Readings?

Disclaimer: The information (including, but not limited to text, graphics, images and other material) contained in this article is for informational purposes only. No material on this site is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice or scientific claims. Furthermore, any/all contributors (both medical and non-medical) featured in this article are presenting only ANECDOTAL findings pertaining to the effects and performance of the products/technologies being reviewed - and are not offering clinical data or medical recommendations in any way. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you read on this page, article, blog or website.”

This section originally published 8/26/20 @ The American Council on Science and Health (www.acsh.org)  Patient-Specific Anxiety: "My PSA was 22. I had a biopsy; it was benign...GOOD! The biopsy showed inflammation, so I had a (surgical) biopsy I didn’t need... BAD!  There has to be a better way!” 


Prostate cancer, now considered the most common cancer in men, especially African-Americans (6-NIH), was rare until the 1950’s. Earlier, a blood test identifying prostate specific antigen (PSA was developed for use in “rape kits” to provide criminal evidence in court) was never designed as the screening tool for prostate cancer that it has become  today. Our national guidelines recommend screening with PSA for men age 55 to 69, a recommendation that 40% of men follow. But what happens after a PSA test is termed positive?

In 2012 the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommended against routine PSA screening for prostate cancer due to the risk of over-diagnosis and over-treatment with most prostate cancer remaining asymptomatic. The panel concluded that the potential benefit of testing did not outweigh the risk of harm, arguing against continued screening except for those with known risk factors and a life expectancy greater than 10 years. Screening may have indeed reduced the rate of death from prostate cancer by an estimated 20%, but it was also associated with a high risk of overdiagnosis (diagnosis in men who would not have clinical symptoms in their lifetime).  This means that PSA testing would have saved about 60,000 lives but some 900,000 men would have undergone the undue injury of an unnecessary surgical biopsy. 

THE BIOPSY is an invasive procedure removing a small section of tissue and examination for cancer cells.  It remains the gold standard in diagnosing prostate cancer. Biopsies are now performed in an office setting, using topical or sedation anesthesia. It involves using a needle to obtain tissue from the prostate through the rectum. Twenty five years ago the routine biopsy protocol called for six needle cores. Because it was performed without imaging, it missed many cancers deep within the prostate. The number of tissue samples taken was expanded to 12 and even up to 96 cores at some centers. Needle biopsies cause serious complications in 1% of patients - even fatal outcomes have recorded. Infection which can require prolonged antibiotic therapy is the most common problem. Nowadays biopsies are guided, meaning that doctors use imaging through ultrasound or MRI  to direct the needles to areas of concern. 

CALLING FOR A DIAGNOSTIC UPGRADE: The strategy of relying on a (PSA) blood test as the precursor to a biopsy required significant reassessment.  Though approved by the FDA in 1986 as the gold standard for monitoring cancer relapses, increasing reports continue to indicate that elevated PSA levels in over 70% of men show a false positive reading- and does not conclude a malignant cancer. (NIH ref). Because of the inaccuracies of the PSA test and the risk of side effects, many centers are now using imaging solutions like ultrasound 3-D Doppler and MRI before considering a biopsy.

First Responder Gets Checked for Enlarged Prostate

NYCRA's own "COUSIN SAL" BANCHITTA, Retired FDNY FF and Cancer Prevention Advocate for the F.A.C.E.S. (Firefighters Against Cancers and Exposures) "Get Checked NOW!" program often partners with Dr. Robert Bard's clinical research team to explore the latest in diagnostic and therapeutic health innovations.

In August of 2023, Sal joined a group of four men over 50 on an exploratory and clinically monitored study applying PEMF (Pulsed Electromagnetic Frequency) to address BPH (Benign prostatic hyperplasia) or enlarged prostate gland. According to Yale Medicine, "about 50% of men between the ages of 51 and 60 have BPH, and that number jumps to 70% among men aged 60 to 69 and around 80% of men over 70 years of age".[1]

This exploratory concept was under a collaboration between Dr. Robert Bard (seasoned diagnostic imaging specialist), Russell Allen (executive director of Wellness Now!)" and Dr. Lennard Gettz (research coordinator of IPHA/ Integrative Pain Healers Alliance). In expanded technical collaboration with Mr. Patrick Ziemer (AuraWell PEMF), this panel launched the exploratory concept of employing a non-invasive alternative solution to reduce prostate size as part of improving men's overall health. "Historically, we have observed the growing success of PEMF on a wide variety of physiological disorders... joining the strength of Dr. Bard's imaging capacity to monitor and validate real-time treatment progress, we have united to launch this micro study... that may someday change the face of how prostate disorders may be managed", states Dr. Noelle Cutter, IPHA Senior Medical Editor & clinical research specialist.

Use of ultrasound imaging has been Dr. Bard's "scanner of choice" when it comes to analyzing and diagnosing a wide array of complex health disorders, from cancer tumors to inflammatory disorders. As a beta tester for developers of ultrasound feature upgrades, Dr. Bard has published an expanded set of findings in support of PEMF regenerative benefits.  His latest pilot study provided quantitative evidence about PEMF-induced micro-tissue and vascular reactions, thanks to his creative use of echocardiography. "Over the years, I have gained significant confidence in Pulsed Bioenergy therapeutic innovations", states Dr. Bard. "...through strategic imaging, we can visibly and quantifiably identify the smallest veins dilating and the contractility of the tissue being energized- appearing as pulse vibrations in the form of the undulating surface line of the muscle. This is how we can illustrate the path of ENERGY MEDICINE in real-time action".

Sal Banchitta, one of four volunteers took home the Nova-HD (by AuraWell PEMF) from the Bard Diagnostic Imaging center in NYC. All case studies are instructed to use the PEMF device as directed- applying electromagnetic exposure via the provided PEMF coil for an est. 20 minutes 2x a day. "Aside from the clicking sound of the power source device, what I learned about PEMF is that it's widely known to be painless and has no known side effects", says Mr. Banchitta. "I also learned this technology to offer so much by ways of pain relief and cell regenerative therapy".
Unlike the other participants of the study, Sal was scheduled to go on a coastal road trip for business immediately after his PEMF consult. The clinical panel found this to be an ideal situation to conduct the test from the drivers seat.  "Adult Americans spend a major portion of their lives behind the wheel... proving how to integrate PEMF treatments while driving could be a great way to optimize use of one's travel time", stated Patrick Ziemer.

Because I had a limited amount of time and a tight travel schedule, I chose to take advantage of the situation by bringing the PEMF into my truck- and it was easy! I installed an a 110 AC outlet to plug in the device. Sitting on the PEMF coil is the same here as it is in my recliner chair at home. The coil was soft and absolutely comfortable and it wasn't an impediment to my driving at all. I used it for about an hour each day and I had a lot of hours to kill. 

I have always been a proponent of early detection- especially when it comes to prostate cancer. Four years ago, my annual retirement exam started with a blood test. My primary found my PSA was slightly elevated, so I was then sent to the urologist as standard operating procedure.  Before you know it, I received a report of a "slightly" enlarged prostate which put me into what felt like an automated track to getting a biopsy.  Getting a biopsy without an MRI or any type of imaging made the needle work a complete and painful shot in the dark. Getting poked 12+ times in what felt like complete guesswork was terrible experience. In the end, we found that the biopsy could have been avoided if the PSA reading gave more information, and a more accurate assessment. As a member of a family predisposed to cancer, the stress of waiting for the biopsy, then actually undergoing the procedure thinking I MAY have have cancer or not was completely an unfair ordeal to put anyone through.  
Meanwhile, this is what launched my journey to support prostate health- including why I am now driving with a PEMF coil on my drivers seat!

(End of Part 1)



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