Assistant Atlanta Police Chief shares prostate cancer diagnosis

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At 55, Assistant Atlanta Police Chief Todd Coyt is still in good enough shape to train with his department's SWAT team. So, last year, when the APD held a health fair, Coyt says he went, not really because he needed to, but to set a good example for his officers.

"I didn't think anything of it," Coyt says.  "Because I felt good.  I had just gone to the doctor."

He got his blood pressure checked, and got a blood test known as a PSA, or prostate specific antigen test. It's used to screen for prostate gland problems. Coyt says he had never had any symptoms.

"It was just, I say, the grace of God,  is what drove me to take that test," he says.

The test results surprised him. His PSA level was abnormally high. When they repeated the test, it remained elevated. That's when Chief Coyt learned he had early stage prostate cancer. It is a diagnosis Georgia Urology's Dr. Ronald Anglade says frightens many men.

"But, the main thing I would like them to know is that a diagnosis of prostate cancer is not a death sentence," Dr. Anglade says. "It doesn't mean you're going to be impotent. It doesn't mean you're going to be incontinent.  There are ways we can deal with that disease, and make sure that that outcome is good."

Coyt was given two options: he could undergo robotic surgery to remove his prostate gland, or wait and have his doctor track his PSA levels to see what would happen.

"I decided I didn't want to take that chance, even though it would be monitored," he says.  "I didn't want to take that chance that it could spread."

So, in June of 2018, he took two months off from work, and had a prostatectomy.

"It was one of the best decisions I have made," Coyt says.

Because 14 months later, his life is back to normal.

"I feel wonderful," Coyt says.  "Most people don't even know I went through this.  It may spur other people to go on and get themselves checked out, or, if they have to, to go on and get it taken care of."