Saturday, August 30, 2014

Prostate Cancer-Fatal or Harmless? That Is The Question!

Although this article is two years old, it’s more accurate today than the day it was written. Robotic Surgery has  rapidly became the treatment of choice for men with prostate cancer. In part, this is due to heavy marketing campaign of surgeons and treatment centers. While they tout the benefits of surgery I wonder how many men/ couples were told the results found in this study:

“Within two years of surgery, the researchers found that 81 percent of the men who underwent the procedure experienced erectile dysfunction, 17 percent had urinary incontinence with symptoms such as "dribbling" or having "no control over urine," and 12 percent reported bowel dysfunction. I wonder what would happen if those statistics were presented to men/couples prior to surgery. Would that influence the decision making process for men?

Here’s another finding I thought was disturbing:
With early stage prostate cancer surgery did not significantly reduce the men's risk of dying from the cancer or any cause, as compared with the observation approach. (Active Surveillance)

There’s no doubt too many men are choosing surgery in the early stages of prostate cancer. Unfortunately, for those men, surgery won’t make a difference in their survival rates. Instead of an extending their lives, these men will needlessly suffer permanent life altering consequences.

There's another reality men need to take into consideration. Prostate Cancer can be a deadly disease. According to the American Cancer Society,  prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in men. So Prostate Cancer is NOT a disease to be taken lightly.

 In order for men to make the right treatment decision it’s important to deal with your previous experiences with cancer. The odds are you’ve known one or more people who’ve died as a result of cancer. The word cancer is associated with vivid images of suffering and death. Those powerful images give rise to fear.

Making a fear-based decision about treating your prostate cancer will result in you choosing the most aggressive form of treatment available. For most men that’s surgery.

The most important thing for men to do is hold off on making a decision about treatment until you have all the facts about your specific cancer. If it’s aggressive, aggressive treatment is required. If it’s not aggressive, choosing active surveillance may be the appropriate treatment option. I can’t say this often enough, make your treatment choice based on your diagnosis rather than your fears.

If now or in the future someone you know is diagnosed with prostate cancer, I hope you'll share this blog with them.

For men who want to know more about impact that robotic surgery has on your sexuality and relationships consider reading the book my wife (Brenda Redner)  and I (Rick Redner)  wrote about our experiences.  Here’s the link to: I Left My Prostate in San Francisco-Where’s Yours?     You can also visit my website at:
Where is your prostate?
Here you'll find a lot of information about the surgical option.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Why Men Avoid Prostate Exams

The answer to the question of why  men avoid prostate exams isn't as simple as the obvious answer that no man in their right mind wants to feel a physician's finger go deeply into their rectum.  It's an uncomfortable and potentially embarrassing exam, but let's put that aside and look at other reasons.

Unfortunately,  men are less likely to seek out medical attention. According to The Center For Disease Control men are 80% LESS likely than a women to use a regular source of health care. It takes an illness to get the majority of men to visit a doctor and even then many men resist. Prostate cancer is a silent disease. By the time there are symptoms it's usually too late for a cure.

Thoughtful men who research the topic will find many powerful voices  stating that prostate exams will do more harm than good.The U.S. Preventative Task Force  and  the American Academy of Family Physicians came out against prostate cancer screening in men without symptoms. Even the American Urological Association came out against PSA screening in men under 40  and doesn't recommend screening between the ages of 40 and 54 for men at average risk. Visit Prostate Cancer Under 50 if you want to connect with a group of men whose lives were saved due to earlier than recommended prostate cancer screening.

It appears the medical profession wants to protect men from making bad decisions once they are given the news they have prostate cancer. According to the Mayo Clinic, somewhere between 17-50% of men who are diagnosed with prostate cancer over treat their cancer and end up suffering with a lifetime of symptoms such as the loss of urinary control or a lifetime of erectile dysfunction.

I don't understand how or why doctors would recommend that men be kept in the dark about a potentially fatal disease.  If men are making bad decisions after they are given the news they have prostate cancer, the right question to ask is: What can be done to help men make the best treatment decision based on their diagnosis rather than their fear of cancer?

Before men began to celebrate they can avoid a digital rectal exam and\or or a PSA test I believe men need to know there's been a significant jump in the number of YOUNG men dying of prostate cancer which means the Incidence of young men with aggressive prostate cancer is on the rise..

Here's  what needs to be done in order for men to do all they can so they won't die from prostate cancer. First, men need to overcome their resistance to avoid medical care when they are symptom free. Second, men need to cope with the discomfort, embarrassment, and/or  aversion to a digital rectal exam. Third, all of us lean toward  following advice you already agree with. So if you are against prostate exams you'll be glad to follow this advice:  Say Goodbye to Prostate Exams.

The only problem following that advice is that it's  possible  you could be one of those men who have an aggressive form of prostate cancer  early in your life. Therefore, skipping out on your prostate exam could be a fatal decision. That's why I believe all men should have their first PSA and prostate exam at age 30. If you are in a high risk group or have a history of prostate cancer in your family I suggest your first exam  and PSA  at age 20. I strongly prefer the adage "better safe than sorry" applies to prostate cancer screening. Here's the bottom line: Prostate Cancer Screening Saves Lives

If  you happen to be one of the 233,000 men who will receive a diagnosis of prostate cancer this year, use caution. Don't  panic and  rush into aggressive treatment. Take the time to find out whether or not your cancer is aggressive and whether you need aggressive treatment. For many men Active Surveillance is all the treatment you'll need.

Yearly Prostate  cancer screening saved my life. It could save yours.

If your cancer is aggressive and your considering surgery check out my award winning book:
I Left My Prostate in San Francisco-Where's Yours?

Friday, August 8, 2014

Keeping Men In Dark About Their Prostate Cancer

According to the American Cancer:

Other than skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in American men. The American Cancer Society’s estimates for prostate cancer in the United States for 2014 are:
  • About 233,000 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed
  • About 29,480 men will die of prostate cancer
About 1 man in 7 will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime.
Prostate cancer occurs mainly in older men. About 6 cases in 10 are diagnosed in men aged 65 or older, and it is rare before age 40. The average age at the time of diagnosis is about 66.
Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in American men, behind only lung cancer. About 1 man in 36 will die of prostate cancer.
The number of younger men diagnosed with aggressive cancer is increasing. Unfortunately  there is a new threat that's emerging for men with prostate cancer. This threat comes from an unexpected source.....the medical community. 
A recent study concludes that prostate cancer screening saves lives, but casts doubt on the benefits of early screening. The U.S  Preventative Task Force came out against prostate cancer screening.
Here's the problem: Too many men are choosing to threat their cancer aggressively and suffering from unnecessary and very unpleasant life long consequences as a result of their treatment choice. In order to protect men from making bad decisions, there is a growing number of medical professionals who believe keeping men in the dark and allowing men to die unnecessarily  from prostate cancer is the solution to the problem of over treatment. From my perspective this is insanity. 
Why are too many men choosing to over treat their cancer? There is a one word answer: FEAR. When I was diagnosed with prostate cancer powerful images of pain, suffering and death came to my mind. If that's how and when men are asked to make a treatment decision they will go for the most aggressive treatment available. That's no reason keep men in the dark and permit other men to die unnecessarily of a disease that could be treated. Yet that's exactly what many in the medical community are proposing.  

As a prostate cancer survivor, I believe the right thing to do is to help men manage their fears and misconceptions about cancer,]. This will empower men  to make best treatment decision based on facts and their diagnosis rather than their fears.  Why is this so difficult for the medical community to understand? Could it be there is widespread ignorance about the emotional aspects of receiving the diagnosis of cancer? 

 In an article I wrote for Alternative Medicine Magazine I propose a way to help men get past their fears in order to make the best treatment decision. This makes infinitely  more sense than keeping men in the dark and allowing others to die. If you are considering surgery as a treatment choice or experiencing difficulty adjusting to life without a prostate check out my book I Left My Prostate in San Francisco-Where's Yours?