This proves the power of our Connections.
Our mailbag was flooded after our recent essay on prostate health and Big Government’s attempt to regulate it.
We got real-life examples of what’s happening straight from the men in the trenches.
We heard from cancer sufferers… folks who beat it… and even a few folks who didn’t agree with our take.
But what were most refreshing were the notes we got from the men in the white coats. Several doctors wrote us… applauding our conclusion.
What follows are a few of the notes from the M.D.s in the crowd…
I agree with you entirely. I’m 78 years old and about a year ago I “fired” my internist because he refused to continue my PSA testing. He had read that study and jumped on the bandwagon and never mind what I wanted, despite the fact that I have a family history of prostate cancer and am certainly an informed patient. So now my primary care guy (internist) is a bright fellow who is happy to continue my PSA testing.
The PSA test is not perfect and is not specific for cancer, but it’s still pretty good at indicating something gone awry in the prostate. That combined with the digital prostate exam is good screening for prostate abnormalities and indicating the need for close follow-up. That doesn’t mean you immediately jump to a prostate biopsy. A good urologist knows when to do watchful waiting and when to move more aggressively.
I’ve always thought it interesting that the “blue-ribbon panel” to which you refer was focused on public health (statistics and groups) and not on individuals. Fortunately, my internist provides care to me as an individual person and not just as a member of a group. – L.W., M.D.
This doc gets it. It’s not about treating the “average” patient or treating him as the insurance company and its actuaries recommend. No, it’s about treating the individual – based on his unique circumstances.
That’s where the feds went wrong. That’s where Big Government always goes wrong.
It’s more proof that we must not rely on the system to keep us healthy. And we certainly can’t count on it alone to tackle this growing men’s health crisis. We must do our homework… just as this doc proves:
Andy, my grandfather died of prostate cancer. I watched my PSA go up from 4 (slightly elevated) in 2010 to 12.6 in 2016. In 2010, my prostate biopsy showed some suggestive changes with atypical cells, but was not diagnostic of cancer. Every couple of years, at my request, my PCP checked it. It went gradually up. Finally, as I was about to retire in 2016, it went up to 12.6. Time for another biopsy, which now showed cancer in four different sites.
As a physician, I explored all the different options, established and experimental, described in the medical literature. None are without side effects. Because I found a surgeon who uses robotic equipment to reach this otherwise difficult to reach area, and who also uses the latest in nerve sparing techniques, and had done over 800 robotic prostatectomies with excellent results, I chose this approach with this surgeon.
So, I celebrated my retirement with a robotic prostatectomy 13 days later at age 70. Two months later, I was back riding my mountain bike. I am now cured and am a certified member of the zero PSA club. My complications 11 months out are minimal. I will never know if I would have died of this cancer or something else first. However, it made sense for me to have the surgery and control what I can, given my otherwise excellent state of health and life expectancy.
Getting PSA screening is a personal decision, preferably made with the advice of your doctor. However, I strongly recommend taking responsibility for your own health. It is your decision. Especially since there is not enough medical evidence to come up with solid medical recommendations, you need to be in charge each step along the way. – R.F., M.D.
Very nice. This story proves the power of Know-How. The doc could have sat back and simply paid for advice. But he knew nobody cared as much about his health as he did.
He took matters into his own hands… and it likely saved his life.
And one more…
I myself am a doctor with elevated PSA and ED resulting from acute prostatitis back in March. I keep testing PSA, but refuse to get the recommended biopsy to check for cancer. The reason for this is simple: While elevated PSA can often signal prostatic problems, it does not signal cancer any more than tea leaves tell me what the weather will be next week. PSA test results are simply an indication of overall health as it relates to the prostate.
Most doctors, by their very training, will want to do an immediate biopsy. This violates the Hippocratic Oath they are sworn to (“First , do thy patients no harm”) since the procedure is painful, tears tissue, and breaks the tumor encapsulation, if present, turning a benign tumor into a malignant one!
Prostatic cancer rates will drop dramatically once more and more people find doctors who…
- Actually know that a PSA finding is just one of many factors,
- Are hesitant to use invasive procedures, and
- Know how to choose the most effective protocol.
However, until doctors stop using such invasive procedures, limiting PSA testing is probably the lesser of evils. The only long-term solution is that more and more doctors and laypeople get educated.
In two weeks I go for my MRI. Wish me luck. – M.C., DC
Best of luck, M.C. We, along with 400,000 readers, will be thinking of you as you endure further testing.
But we must say, the “lesser of evils” idea is where we disagree with so many folks on this idea. By avoiding PSAs, we’re skirting the real problem… a lack of education amongst not only patients but the doctors they trust.
It’s like banning guns and totally ignoring our broken culture. It won’t solve a thing.
Finally, a note that made us smile…
Keep up the good work with Manward Digest – I read every issue that arrives in my email inbox as soon as I see it, because the knowledge you have and are generously willing to share is very, very valuable – and yes everyone should know ALL this stuff.
Congratulations to you for sharing this valuable knowledge and now finding a way to bring it to so many! – K.L.
Ah, yes, our Know-How, Connections and Liberty are coming together oh so nicely.
Our passion project is changing lives.
Thanks to all who have sent us notes lately – even if you disagree with us. We read every one of them.
Keep them coming by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.