You knew it was coming. A couple of weeks ago the US Preventative Services Task Force recommended ending the routine screening for prostate cancer. There has been uproar in the medical establishment.
The article said that the current thought was that as most prostate cancers were very slow-growing, the ‘risk of treatment—including incontinence and impotence—can outweigh the benefits.’
Are men (and the women that love them) told of the risks? Dr. Howard Brody, director of the Institute for the Medical Humanities at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, had this to say: ‘This idea of talking to patients has always had resistance from medicine,’ he said. ‘(The fear is) if you tell people there could be risks, they won’t do what they need to.’
Isn’t it our right as consumers to be told the whole truth? Don’t we need to know that there are certain risks and dangers involved in procedures? I have read more than one story/article which states that we have overstepped the benefit of detection with our state of the art equipment. More than one medical expert says that we are treating microscopic cancers that would never amount to any trouble all just because we can now detect them.
‘Count Brawley among those who believe the test launches men into a torrent of treatment and often miserable side effects, whether they would have suffered problems from the cancer or not.’ He says: ‘I don’t know if prostate screening saves lives, but it sure sells diapers.’ Otis Brawley, MD is the chief medical officer for the American Cancer Society.
So, what is the middle ground? We know that as men age, they are susceptible to prostate issues. We know that there are a variety of herbs and minerals (saw palmetto and zinc to name a couple) which will keep the prostate small and functioning. We know that watermelon juice (especially the rind) delivers needed nutrients to the prostate. No one is saying ignore the prostate. Good preventative health screens are important. However, jumping off the deep end into surgery may not be the best answer for everyone.
Case in point. I have a client who had a PSA of 60. Authorities will tell you that anything above a 4 is problematic. He went to the doctor, and was recommended to have a prostatectomy. However, my client believed at proper supplementation with herbs and minerals would take care of the prostate problem. It was my pleasure to work with him, and to hear that his latest PSA result was well within range.
Dr. Brody continues: ‘The risk doesn’t come from drawing blood for the test. It’s everything that comes after. The harm comes from the cascade. Once you get a test result, certain things are going to happen if the result is positive. Information is not harmless.’ He has a point: Once you know something, then you will be pressured into making the ‘cascade’ of decisions. However, if we have other information, information that helps the body along the healing patterns, then that information is powerful.
What type of information do you have? What do you lack?
Until next time,
(The Houston Chronicle, June 11, 2012)