21 November 2012

A message to the male readers of TYWKIWDBI

Get your  prostate checked.  Today I'm celebrating the 10th anniversary of undergoing a radical prostatectomy for prostatic carcinoma.  I was aware of prostate ca because two family members died from it, and I had spent several months living with my father in a trailer in the Rio Grande Valley while he died from the the consequences of bony metastases.  So I began monitoring my PSA when I was in my 50s, and when it suddenly bumped up, I went under the knife.  The path specimen showed local invasion through the capsule of the gland and extension into some perineural sheaths, so if I had delayed years or perhaps just months more, I would have had to palliate unresectable disease.

If you are a male reading this, especially if you have early male pattern balding like the dude at the right, or a positive family history, don't neglect the simple tests that are available.  They are not that onerous.

I am oversimplifying the recommendation because of my personal experience, but iin point of fact both the biology and the clinical course of prostate carcinoma are complex.  There are valid arguments both for and against screening for prostate cancer, so read about it and talk with your physician.  But don't ignore the possibility.

Get it done.

Reposted with modification and additions from 2010.  The top photo is DaVinci's St. John the Baptist.  Photo of the Duke of Cambridge by REX, via The Telegraph.  Bottom photo source credit lost.


  1. As someone involved in oncology research (the flip side of the coin, gynecological cancers) I second this. We have someone working in our lab who caught their testicular cancer early and is now 2 years cancer free. Pay attention to your body and better yet have someone professional pay attention to it for you.

    Also congrats blogger for beating it. Its not easy or pleasant but it can be done!

  2. I joined Pints for prostates at a brewfest some years ago. Pints for Prostates is reaching all men thru the love of beer. I make a point to go to events that they are at.

  3. Good advice. I bet a lot more would get done if the exam room offered a cocktail ahead of time. Why not. Or a spleef. Something. I'm cocooning away from all revelers.. I hate the holidays.. --A.

  4. Thanks for spreading the word. I found I had prostate cancer last year and went right through the radical prostatectomy. Yes, the side effects are no fun, but it's a whole lot better than the alternative.
    Check out the "Movember" movement, too. http://us.movember.com/
    I've had my 'stash since 1973!

  5. On the topic of prostate cancer, this might tickle you: http://www.instructables.com/id/Prostate-cancer-awareness-sculpture/

  6. Don't forget to check your moles! I kept putting off the visit to the dermatologist. The doctor caught my melanoma in the nick of time, fortunately. Yet another thing for which I give thanks.

  7. 12 years ago I went to the doctor because I had to urinate frequently at night. The PSA test I took was 26.something, and the biopsy showed 3 places with tumors. After a brief chemo thing I took 50 radiation treatments and to this day I am cancer free. I am so thankful for mu Oncologists expertise.

  8. I had my prostate out at 63 using the di vinci machine and if you have to get it done this is the ONLY way to go. Absolutely no pain, very little incontinence, and back to work next week.

    BUT, before you rush into a prostatectamy there has been a lot of new medical advances in the last few years that might make the operation unnecessary. Be careful using the radium seeds. If your cancer comes back after you have had the seeds installed apparently there is little that can be done to stop its spread.

    Remember that all men die with prostate cancer buy few die from it.

  9. Whoa, lads, here is an OTOH on (over)diagnosis:
    Benefits of mammograms under fire
    Nearly one-third of breast cancers identified by screening healthy US women need not have been treated, study finds.
    The routine use of mammography to screen healthy women for breast cancer is leading to the widespread detection and treatment of tumours that would never have caused symptoms, a study in the New England Journal of Medicine asserts today1. The results inject yet another dose of controversy into an area that is already hotly debated.

    Another county heard from!

  10. It's also easy. The fluids regimen is mildly annoying but the actual procedure is a breeze.
    When they ask if you would like to watch, say Yes. I was fascinated. It looked like an abandoned spur of the Red Line (old Pez dispensers lying around). Quite architectural, actually! I'm good to go for another 10 years.

  11. You should be careful before extending your personal experience to others, and give them advices that recent studies do not confirm at all the good.
    Prostate screening is nowadays known as increasing the risk of prostate investigation and surgery, even for people who would never have develop a cancer (difference beetween finding cancer cells and having a real cancer disease). That is called over-diagnosis.
    Statistically, the risk seems to be bigger than the benefit, for the whole population.

    I'm trying to transmit few references :


    Congratulation for your blog, I'm a great froggy fan !


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