Thursday, November 21, 2013

 

Prostate Cancer, A Killer

Bill Bixby, who played David Banner in the TV show, The Incredible Hulk, died of prostate cancer in 1993, at the age of 59. Way too young.

There is a lot of discussion about this disease and whether or not it is over treated. I, for one, am a strong proponent of the PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) test and surgery for the removal of a cancerous prostate gland. I experienced the disease in 2004 and was cured via surgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital. I have had an undetectable PSA ever since.

I don't know Bill Bixby's full case story, just that he had the surgery and the disease returned and killed him. That means that he might not have been a good candidate for surgery in the first place. If cancer cells escape the prostate and metastasize to other parts of the body, surgery alone will not cure the patient.

A group of "experts" (that did not include a single urologist) has issued guidelines that argue against PSA testing. They site an American study of about 77,000 men and concluded that the PSA test did not account for any lives saved. But they ignored a European study of over 180,000 men that said 20% were saved by the test.

Dr. Patrick Walsh at Johns Hopkins has said that if you are diagnosed with prostate cancer but have a realistic expectation of at least twenty more years of life, you want to seek a cure. The only positive cure is removal of the prostate and surrounding tissue. If you are over fifty years of age, I urge you to get screened and then check the web sites of major research institutions, like Johns Hopkins. Read their recommendations, not newspaper reports of "expert groups" that don't talk to urologists. Make an informed decision.

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