Prostate Cancer: To Test or Not To Test?

That indeed is the vexing question for men currently. We have had several celebrities recently calling for more men to test and it looks like an open and shut case when you read their sad stories, doesn’t it? I feel for them.

However, it is never that simple. Rather than wade in with my own view (although see my factsheet on Prostate Problems here), I will refer you to what I thought was the most telling article I saw on the subject. From Simon Kelner in the i newspaper:

Bill Turnbull’s cancer revelation adds to the confused messages around prostate testing

“And what will you do when you know your reading?” continued the plain-speaking professor. The gist of his assertion was that there are two types of prostate cancer: one that kills you whatever you do, and one with which you can live quite happily (many men die in later life with – rather than from – prostate cancer. Why go looking for trouble? That was a crude interpretation of his advice.

Read more at:

The issue reminds me of the debate about DCIS breast cancer where women are told they have breast cancer, yet DCIS is thought normally not to progress to cancer in about half of cases, so many women are frightened by the diagnosis and can go through unnecessary treatment and the after-effects of that.
To test or not to test: indeed a vexing question and one that needs more work from researchers asap, I’d say.

4 Replies to “Prostate Cancer: To Test or Not To Test?”

  1. I think the PSA score gives men some valuable insight into their health status, and can motivate them to take better care of their health and avoid future problems, and not just with their prostates but system wide. For one thing, a high or rising PSA score indicates something is going on, and not neccessarily cancer. It can also indicate that there is some irritation and/or inflammation and/or enlargement going on which should be noticed and addressed early on so as to prevent more serious problems, including but not limited to cancer, from ever arising. . . . . . . . However, if the PSA test becomes the gateway to the mainstream med path of biopsy, fear, and neverending but useless testing and treatments, rather than encouragement to begin using the commonsense diet and herbs that the body needs to heal, then, yes, men are better off without the test in the first place. But what kind of sick system is that??? A very telling sign of the times and the brokeness of mainstream med, I think. . . . . . . . . . . All men (or the women in their lives who love them) should read Guide to Prostate Health by Dr Katz and then get tested. Or better yet, proactively follow the advice in the book so as to prevent any problems from ever arising and not need the test. . . . . Dr Katz is one of those rare mainstream doctors who has retained his critical thinking skills and compassion for patients despite all of the pressure for doctors to do otherwise. He is a highly regarded specialist at John Hopkins yet has not been afraid to look at all of the evidence, and recommend natural and alternative treatments like diet and herbs and supplements where they are superior to the mainstream offerings.

  2. PS Dr Katz’s recommendations worked for my husband. About a year ago he was sent to a specialist who gleefully recommended a biopsy, assuring my husband that the biopsy would be “eight minutes in hell” and “an experience that he really wouldn’t like.” Instead my husband followed Katz’s more natural recommendations for three months, retested and found his PSA score had dropped DRAMATICALLY, well below the level where a biopsy would be recommended. His doctor and the specialist were completely flummoxed. My husband explained to them what he had been doing and how he had achieved such dramatic improvements, but they could not have been less interested. Sad. . . . . . . It all turned out to be a blessing in disguise. My husband admitted he had been sneaking junk food fairly regularly, after supposedly quitting all sugar several years ago to try to bring down his high blood sugar. After this little experience he was really scared straight. Both his PSA and blood sugar are now way down, and I am sure that his dementia risk (a family trait) has also been greatly reduced. He never wanted to take supplements or watch his diet, but is committed to taking care of his health now in a way he never was before. Yay!

    1. Thanks for sharing – so pleased for him. I hear this kind of thing a lot and indeed wish more men (and women) knew about it!

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