For Men Only

Hey guys! Your Summer reading list just got longer. And this is one you won’t want to miss.

Invasion of the Prostate Snatchers” by Ralph Blum and Mark Scholz, MD, is sobering and fascinating. It chronicles Mr. Blum’s lifelong battle with the diagnosis and treatment of his prostate cancer, interspersed with his fellow author’s (a prostate cancer specialist) opinions on the state of modern urological medicine in fighting this disease. Chapter by chapter, they clearly discuss the dilemma most men face when confronted with this frightening diagnosis.

A prostate exam—never asked for, but often received from our physician—coupled with a high PSA blood test, sets us on a journey that most men would rather avoid. A journey that starts with a urologist, men and women with the tools to check this sensitive part of our anatomy.

We get a clear understanding of the pitfalls we can expect during diagnosis and the limitations of medical science in helping us find the one, true way in treating this disease. The authors explain why for some men with low-grade prostate cancer that doing nothing but “watchful waiting” is acceptable.

Clearly some men are uncomfortable living with the prospect of prostate cancer. Some choose surgery or radiation, hoping to ‘get rid of it,’ without fully understanding the potential complications of these procedures. The authors share stories of what other men have experienced and how their treatment negatively affected their lives.

They share how treatment with medications along with active surveillance is a rational choice for some men. Mr. Blum believes that diet, supplements, exercise and even laughter play a part in remaining free of prostate cancer. What impressed me was the clear discussion of options, providing us space to make a decision in our best interests regardless of the pressure we may face to “do something.”

In this respect, the book belongs on your shelf as a reference, or maybe under glass with a warning: “Break here and read before deciding on prostate surgery.”

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About Steve P. Sanders

A general internist writing and sharing ideas and art.

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