Clinical Features: A 65-year-old African American man presented to a chiropractic clinic after experiencing lower back pain for 1 month. The digital rectal examination was unremarkable, but the serum prostate-specific antigen was markedly elevated. A suspicion of metastatic prostate cancer resulted in subsequent referral, further diagnostic evaluation, and palliation.
Intervention and Outcome: The patient was referred for medical evaluation and palliation of his condition. Spinal decompression surgery of the thoracic spine was initiated, resulting in weakness and paresthesia in the lower limbs bilaterally. The patient died because of the complications associated with the medical interventions and the disease about 12 months after the referral.
Conclusion: Chiropractic physicians should maintain a high degree of suspicion for catastrophic causes of back-related complaints, such as metastatic prostate cancer. The Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial Risk Calculator, a research validated instrument, should be used in the assessment of prostate cancer risk. Performance of the digital rectal examination and of the prostate-specific antigen determination remains integral in the clinical assessment of the health status in aging men, with or without back pain.
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