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Prostate Cancer: Owning Your Own Care – Part 1

A three-part series that tells you what you need to know before you go see your doctor.

Part I Part II Part III
The Proverbial Grain of Salt Treatment and Regrets Don’t Fear Clinical Trials


Part 1:  The Proverbial Grain of Salt

In an ideal world, none of this would need to be said.

First of all, there would be no prostate cancer.  But if there were and you needed medical help, your doctor would be at the top of his or her game – and compassionate, like Marcus Welby, if you’re old enough for that name to ring a bell.

Your medical care would be flawless.  Most importantly, you would get the treatment that’s exactly right for you because your doctor would be completely up-to-date on all the new clinical trials and drugs, would understand the importance of knowing your cancer’s genes and microenvironment, and would look for precision drugs that will work better for your individual cancer, instead of treating you just like every other prostate cancer patient in the waiting room.

The real world is a lot less certain.  There are some excellent doctors and world-class medical centers, and unfortunately, there are a lot of not-so-great doctors and indifferent medical centers out there.  In the realm of prostate cancer, this means that many men don’t get the best advice.  If they undergo surgery or radiation, maybe they don’t have expert surgeons or radiation oncologists, either, and they suffer from side effects that could have been prevented.  If they have advanced prostate cancer, they get cookie-cutter treatment.  Maybe it’s the standard of care, or maybe it’s just the same treatment that this doctor’s patients got 20 years ago.

You deserve better than that, and in the real world of prostate cancer treatment, the plain truth is that you need to get involved.

            You need to do due diligence.  You shouldn’t have to, but you do.

Oh, and here’s another tricky thing:  there is a lot of bad information out there.   You can help filter that out by seeing who sponsors the website or pays for the book.  Maybe it’s a pharmaceutical giant that makes a pill to treat prostate cancer, or a company that manufactures a fancy machine to treat cancer that cost millions to develop and it’s trying to recover that money one patient at a time.  Maybe it’s a hospital trying to get you to come there for your treatment.  This doesn’t mean you won’t get good information from such places, but you should consider what they say with the proverbial grain of salt.   

Look for reputable book publishers, and if you’re shopping online, look for books with lots of reviews – too many to have all been written by the author or the author’s family members and buddies.  Even then, be cautious; look for someone who is either more positive than humanly possible or someone who has an obvious axe to grind – maybe someone who just happens to be promoting a competitor’s product.

Not to toot our own horn, but the PCF has no axe to grind.  We don’t have anything to sell, and the money we raise goes right into research.