Instead, today men are quickly dispatched for aggressive treatment such as prostate surgery or radiation, both of which can affect men's sexual or bladder competence permanently. The numbers are startling: 85% of men diagnosed with prostate cancer get surgery or radiation, yet only 15% actually need it.
I was diagnosed with prostate cancer in December 2011. Steered immediately toward radical treatment, the doctors said, "Your PSA is very high and your biopsy is positive, so your only alternatives are surgery or radiation." Luckily I heard about the new methods and was able to avoid these aggressive treatments.
Yes, my PSA was high: 15 ng/ml. Normal is 4 or less. And my biopsy was positive, although the cancer is low grade. Just like me, surgery or radiation is what you likely will be told you need if your PSA is elevated even a little and your biopsy is positive for cancer.
Until now, MRIs were not helpful because the prostate is situated so deep in the pelvis, the pictures were unclear and prostate cancer could not be identified. Now, the new MRI is highly accurate in identifying where the prostate cancer is and where it isn't. This is a special MRI, a Tesla 3.0, contrast enhanced method that is available at only 24 medical centers today.
This MRI made all of the difference for me. I learned that my prostate cancer was the size of the tip of my pinky and located in a relatively safe area of the prostate with no sign whatsoever of spread. I also learned that the majority of elevated PSA tests are from other causes than cancer, such as infections or an enlarged gland. I had both. And because my prostate cancer is the low-risk type, I decided to do active surveillance and continue to follow my PSA tests quarterly and prostate MRI yearly. In two years nothing has changed.
In the past and still today, doctors have been very aggressive in treatment prostate cancer. They had little choice because there were no tests to identify the location and size of a man's cancer. So to avoid under treating men and allowing a cancer to spread, doctors recommended radical treatment for most men. This approach remains the mainstay despite the fact we have new tests to better define what you have.
Some men really do need surgery or radiation, but many, many more don't. Take the time to find out what you have and the many treatment options available now, so you don't look back and wonder.
"This book answers all the right questions. Even the ones you don't think to ask. Every man who has had a PSA test should read this!."
"Required reading for men. This book contains advice and information that I have not found anywhere else. It is well-written from the patient's point of view and is a good study for anyone who is concerned about the possibility of a prostate cancer diagnosis. Before you agree to surgery, read this book and get the tests. "
"I have prostate cancer; this book describes the steps one must take to insure choosing the best treatment for prostate cancer. Wish I would have had this before starting my treatment, would have done treatments differently, I'm sure with better results."
"I cannot recommend it enough! Jay Cohen tells you everything you need to know and how to try to find out more if your PSA has gone up, and what you can do about it. The more information you have, the better. This book will really help you make a decision about what you should do if you might have prostate cancer, or do have prostate cancer."