“The Prostate Express” – Symptom of an American Health Care Tragedy

A just published medical study, by Harvard Medical School, in conjunction with the Karolinsks Institute, Sweden; University of Iceland, Reykjavik and several Boston hospitals, has my dander up today. The study reached the conclusion: “A diagnosis of prostate cancer may increase the immediate risks of suicide and cardiovascular death.” The study added the risk was particularly high during the first month following a diagnosis of prostate cancer.

What has my ire elevated is the study makes nary a mention of what treatment action was taken by the medical establishment in the month or year following the diagnosis of prostate cancer. This brings me to “The Prostate Express”. There are currently 100’s of American males traveling to Germany each year to undergo hypothermia treatment for prostate cancer. Hyperthermia has none of the serious side effects of surgery, radiation and chemotherapy which are the standards in the American health care industry.

It’s my considered opinion the treatments given to address prostate cancer have a far greater impact on suicide rates and cardiovascular deaths than the mere diagnosis of prostate cancer. But when I review this very large study (linked at the conclusion) there is absolute silence about the cancer treatment options followed by the study’s patients. Here is an example of current prostate health care in America. Call our composite American patient by the name of Bill. Bill goes to his family doctor for his annual checkup. As part of his visit he gets a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test and the famous (finger wag) digital test.

The PSA test comes back with a reading of 7.0 and Bill is referred to an urologist. The urologist gives Bill another PSA test, another finger wag test. Based on those results the urologist does a “punch test” needle biopsy where a half dozen core tissue samples are taken direct from Bill’s prostate gland. When the lab results come back Bill is told they found cancer cells present in four of the six tissue samples.

Additionally, the pathologist that did Bill’s lab work assigned a Gleason score of 5. (The Gleason score is highly subjective with hand counts of cancer cells, an opinion as to their differentiation from normal prostate cells and an opinion on patterns the cancer cells take in the tested tissue samples.) Following receiving the pathologists lab report the urologist schedules Bill for another consultation. Here he informs Bill the prostate protocol reviews findings are consistent with prostate cancer. The urologist recommends Bill undergo a radical prostectomy where the prostate gland is completely removed.

Bill vaguely remembers hearing he could lose control of urinary functions and his sex life would change. But what Bill really hears is “if we go in now we should be able to get it all”. And, “if we remove it now your chances of survival are 90% plus”. So Bill, a normal American male and scared to death or the prospect of dying says, “Get ‘er Done”. Only after the surgery does Bill realize the importance of what he failed to hear clearly. “You will lose control of your urinary function,” and “sexual function is going to be pretty much gone”.

Fast forwarding a year, Bill is still wearing a diaper. Some days he gets by with one diaper a day and some days he uses more. Bill’s wife moved out 6 months ago and the divorce was final last week. Bill tried the stimulant shots to his penis but that did not work out well. He has not yet resolved to become a monk and dreams about the possibility of a penal implant.

Back to the Harvard prostate study and my article’s subject of “The Prostate Express”. Where is the study’s data about the individual medical procedures the prostate patients underwent? Which patients had a radical prostectomy? Which patients received radiation? Which patients received chemotherapy? Which patients received various combinations? None of this important treatment data is presented or discussed by the study. We are not advised of those patients that refused traditional mainstream therapies and chose to do nothing. Nor are we in

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