29000 Men Comment
Following is the link to the American Cancer Society’s recent recommendations about PSA testing.
As a 7-year prostate cancer survivor – I am not a physician and I do not provide medical advice – I continue to believe that men should begin PSA testing at age 35 and track their results year-to-year, since a rapid rate of increase is associated with a high possibility of prostate cancer.
We often hear comments such as “don’t worry about prostate cancer, it generally is slow growing and you most likely will die from some other cause.” If this is the case, why are almost 29,000 men perishing each year from prostate cancer? And why have over a million men died from prostate cancer since the War on Cancer was declared in 1971?
If you like to do research, just try and find detailed information about the cohort of men that die each year: at what age were they diagnosed?, at what cancer stage?, how were they diagnosed?, how were they treated?
If you want a sobering look at why we all should be testing, visit the National Cancer Institute’s SEER (Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results) website and dive into the statistics yourself. It’s pretty straight forward and you will be able to make your own decision about the value of PSA Testing. Here’s a quote from a recent NCI monograph on prostate cancer survival: “Survival for those diagnosed with distant disease and with poorly and undifferentiated tumors is poor, pointing to the benefit of earlier diagnosis.” “Poor” to the point that if a man is diagnosed with Stage IV prostate cancer he has a roughly 5% chance of living 10 additional years.!
If you are one of the unlucky men, like me, to have prostate cancer, would you rather be diagnosed early when there is the possibility of effective treatment or later, when there is none?
PSA testing isn’t perfect, but it is the best test currently available and can be done for as little at $26.00 dollars without a doctor visit (note: I am not advocating PSA testing without medical supervision, only noting that testing services are available).
Prostate cancer is the mirror image of breast cancer, yet men refuse to talk about the topic for fear of possible treatment side effects. At the same time, the business community, with a few exceptions, is afraid to engage on the issue, even while they rush to create breast cancer awareness programs.* This is even true for the most macho of all consumer brands, the Harley-Davidson Motor Company.
I will be riding across the US and back this summer (the Tour de USA 2010) to raise awareness of these issues. Full event details can be found at Tour de USA website, along with a listing to the cities where we will stop. I would love to have help in creating local media events at each stop.
* I applaud the companies that are supporting breast cancer initiatives and encourage them to continue these programs.