posted on 05/14/2005 10:08:58 PM PDT
I can't even begin to tell you the thought process that I went through to make the decision that I did - it would be a small book. Your link points out one of the downsides - that the biopsy itself is not without some potentially serious medical side-effects such as the spread of the cancer throughout the prostate and the danger of infection. Then there is the fact that the needle might miss it completely - certainly defeats the purpose. Then there is the fact that it might find something but it might be a 'so what' finding. In the end, I made myself up a flowchart complete with options, yes-no decision points etc. What really convinced me not to do the biopsy was that a) a negative result doesn't mean there is no cancer, b) a positive result doesn't mean that the cancer is worth worrying about and c) if it does show cancer and a decision is made to have the prostate removed, there is no guarantee that the quality of life afterwards will be there.
One of the things that was really funny in my case is that after I made the decision to cancel my biopsy (after having given the thing due consideration), it was found that the procedure that hospitals were using to sterilize the needles was seriously flawed (this pronouncement came out the week before my scheduled date). Like I needed more convincing NOT to do it?
I read an interesting study on the net a little while ago where the researchers indicated that they had been doing dissections on the prostrate of teenagers (who had died for whatever reason) and found that approximately 20% of the boys had prostate cancer by the time they were 18 years old (don't quote me on the exact number as I've given the article away to a friend who was going through a similar experience to me). So not only is it slow-growing, it is often there from a very young age. I also recently saw the results of a survey which showed a phenomenal number of doctors themselves who believed that PSA tests and biopsies were so useless that they refuse to do it. Then there is another study that shows that only 2% of the prostate cancer cases become so serious that it kills the patient. I think my Dad was a typical case. He died a few years ago at age 90. He had prostate cancer but it never bothered him and what he died of was congestive heart failure. And as he often said, 'it's better to place your faith in things above....'
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