Specialising in the human experience of Living with prostate cancer – warts and all

MYTH: Trust Me, I’m a Doctor

with 3 comments

I am angry!  Every aspect of prostate cancer and its treatment is confusing from diagnosis through treatment to death from the disease.  That is because there is no such thing as a “Prostate Cancer Specialist”.

  • We are treated by Urologists who specialise in surgery and hormone therapy (ADT or Androgen deprivation therapy).  Prostate Cancer is just one aspect of the Urologist’s work.  They attend to all the plumbing problems of both men and women.  They use ADT to slow the production of testosterone.  Hormone therapy cannot cure cancer or kill a tumour.  However, the damage done can include impotence and incontinence.  Both surgery and hormone therapy – not the cancer itself –  leave you with quality of life issues and adverse symptoms that did not exist before treatment.
  • We are treated by Oncologists who specialise in chemotherapy.  Prostate Cancer is just one aspect of the Oncologist’s work.  They attend to poisoning all types of cancersous tumours.  Chemotherapy. Chemo poisons the system so dramatically that it kills 27% of Sick Patients within 30 days of treatment.  Chemotherapy – not the cancer itself –  leaves you with quality of life issues and adverse symptoms that did not exist before treatment.
  • We are treated by Radiologists who specialise in nuclear destruction of the tumours.  Once again, radiation is used on all types of cancerous tumours.  Collateral damage to good tissue and organs is unavoidable includimg the bowel.  Impotence and incontinence can also follow.  Radiation – not the cancer itself –  leaves you with quality of life issues and adverse symptoms that did not exist before treatment.

Most important of all is your GP (General Practitioner), the doctor who took your PSA reading and DRE (Digital rectum examination) and then referred you on to one of the others.  The GPs’ limitation is that they have to deal with everything physical and mentally from birth to death and never get the opportunity to specialise in any aspect of their work.  However, because of the frequency of visits, your doctor monitors your progression.

When asked, “If they had prostate cancer, which treatment would they chose – surgery, chemo, or radiation”, repeated surveys show that more than 80% of Urologists would choose surgery, more than 80% of Oncologists would choose chemotherapy whilst more than 80% of Radiologists would choose radiation.

To these doctors, all they can see is the discipline they employ disregarding all other treatment options and the patient himself.  That is professional negligence that should be accountable.

“When a patient is found to have a tumor, the only thing the doctor discusses with that patient is what he intends to do about the tumor. If a patient with a tumor is receiving radiation or chemotherapy, the only question that is asked is, “How is the tumor doing?” No one ever asks how the patient is doing. In my medical training, I remember well seeing patients who were getting radiation and/or chemotherapy. The tumor would get smaller and smaller, but the patient would be getting sicker and sicker. At autopsy we would hear, “Isn’t that marvelous! The tumor is gone!” Yes, it was, but so was the patient. How many millions of times are we going to have to repeat these scenarios before we realize that we are treating the wrong thing? … Philip Binzel, M.D., Alive and Well, Chapter 14

When I was diagnosed, I asked my GP what the game plan would be. He told me it was all about ‘quality of life’ rather than quantity and the objective was to try and keep me functioning as I was for as long as possible.  Without treatment, there would be an ongoing degradation – over an indeterminate time towards death. Through treatment, I could hope for a higher quality of life throughout most of the remaining time with a sudden deterioration at the other end of the period.  He was the only one who cared what happened to me.

How can we trust doctors – or the medical profession – when they have no regard for the welfare of the patient.  NOT LIKELY.


3 Responses

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  1. I don’t see anything in this article about cryofreezing as an option. My PSA was 4.9. My urologist did a biopsy, and two of the ten samples came back with cancer. He explained to my wife and I all the options in depth. We chose cryofreezing. One year later, and my PSA remains at 0.1 or less, and my sex life is slowly returning without medication. Our reason for choosing this option was because if by some remote possibility the cancer should return, it can be treated again. I still would have the choice of radiation or removal as a final option.

    Dennis Baso

    21 June 2012 at 8:13 am

    • I am not aware of cryofreezing being used in Australia. I did a google for “cryofreeze Australia prostate cancer” qnd did not get one Australian reference. Dennis, how would you like to tell us about the procedure from a first hand perspective.

      Here is a video of the concept

      Greg Naylor

      21 June 2012 at 10:52 am

      • Any questions that you might have, I would be glad to answer to the best of my ability.

        Dennis Baso

        21 June 2012 at 1:48 pm

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