Here’s an interesting article from the Prostate Cancer Foundation about a potentially exciting development in the ability to determine which prostate cancer tumors are more likely to metastasize.
The Prostate Cancer Foundation and Major League Baseball join forces next week to raise funds to help find a cure for prostate cancer with their annual Home Run Challenge. Check it out.
Now if we could only get the National Football League to do something similar in September during Prostate Cancer Awareness Month before they start wearing pink in October for Breast Cancer Awareness Month…
I came across this article, Walking Boosts Outcomes for Prostate Cancer Survivors, on the Prostate Cancer Foundation website a few weeks ago, and it struck a chord with me.
When I began my weight loss regimen back in December, I made a concerted effort to increase my physical activity, mainly in the form of walking. I’m not close to the level of activity that is talked about in this article, but it has helped with losing weight and with mitigating some of the minor side effects I had been experiencing post-surgery.
I know it’s only anecdotal observation on my part, but I feel that the number of stress incontinence episodes are down and, when I do have them, they’re not as significant as they once were. I’d like to say, too, that it’s improved my erectile dysfunction, but, if I’m being honest, I’m not so sure that it has. If it has, it’s only been slightly. At least things aren’t getting worse.
So I’ve been hopping on the Prostate Cancer Foundation’s website a bit more recently, just to keep myself abreast of advances in research and what’s happening in the world of treatment options.
Each year, they host a Scientific Retreat with doctors, scientists, and researchers from around the world, and they discuss what’s currently happening in prostate cancer research. Here’s a link to the 2013 meeting’s events and topics:
It provides a summary of what was presented and discussed in each session, much of it in medical mumbo-jumbo over my head, but there was one session’s summary that caught my eye on pages 85-87:
Session 13: Measure Twice, Cut Once—What is the Proper Role for Surgery in Prostate Cancer 2013?
Obviously, having had a radical prostatectomy, it’s an interesting read for me (not that I can change anything at this point).
I have to admit that there are days where I’m not so sure that I would make the same treatment decision if newly diagnosed today, given the recent advancements in the forty months since my diagnosis.
Don’t get me wrong. My quality of life, post-prostatectomy, is quite high. My stress incontinence issues are a minor nuisance, and my sexual function issues would be a bigger factor if I were in a relationship, but I’m not. I guess I’d be happier if I were 100% in both departments.
So I often weigh those nuisances against the larger picture. With each six month PSA check-up that comes back “undetectable,” I have peace of mind knowing that the cancer is no longer inside me.
The question becomes one of trading one set of concerns for another.
If I opted for some other treatment option and was 100% continent and had 100% sexual function, I’d be happy in both those departments, but then would I be trading that happiness for worrying every day that the cancer cells left inside me (even though they’ve been treated with chemo, radiation, hormones, or something else), are one day going to go crazy and ultimately do me in? I don’t know.
It’s a tough call, and a very personal choice.
Again, I made my decision and am living with its consequences. But the key word is living.
For those who have been regular readers of this blog, I hope you like the new layout. Things were getting a little too cluttered, so I added a new column just for the blog’s administrative links (left column) and kept all the prostate cancer-specific links in the right column. It should make it a tad easier to navigate.
Well, I’m past the head cold that I had and back to normal activity without pads. I will have to admit, though, that even after the worst of it passed, I seemed to be a little more leak-prone for some reason. But that’s calmed down, too, thankfully.
There’s encouraging news about having a better ability to determine whether prostate cancer is the aggressive type that can kill you, or the less aggressive type that can be observed under active surveillance. You can read about that in the previous post (re-blogged from the Prostate Cancer Foundation site).
This is important. It will help avoid over-treatment of prostate cancer, subjecting men to some of the side-effects of a treatment regimen that they may not have needed in the first place. Of course, men will still have to overcome the thought of living with cancer inside them, always wondering if and when it may spread into something much more difficult to deal with.
Take time this month to learn more about prostate cancer, its effects, and the treatment options.
Much has changed in the last year concerning prostate cancer testing and treatment, and you need to be aware of those changes. Get the latest information and guidelines from your personal physician, especially if you’re in an at-risk group.
It’s too important not to educate yourself about prostate cancer. It’s your life we’re talking about, after all.