I had prostate cancer – it runs in my family going back at least 4 generations that I know of. So for quite a long time, I had been more than casually interested in developments and scientific advances in the testing, diagnosing, and treatment of the disease. Any story in a magazine or newspaper having to do with prostate cancer caught my eye – I consumed a lot of information over the years. You might say I was studying all along, instead of cramming for the final.
The PSA test changed everything. Early stage prostate cancer generally does not have any symptoms, so before the beginning of PSA testing, most men wouldn’t even go to see a doctor until they had symptoms – and then the disease was usually pretty far along. Today, younger patients are being diagnosed when the disease is at an earlier and more treatable stage.
So, of course, I read about all the usual treatments – surgery, radiation, seeds, proton beams and the like. And I always wondered what I would choose when that fateful day arrived for me. The problem was – every one of the treatments for prostate cancer has “some” undesirable side effects – there was just no getting around it. You pretty much had to pick your poison.
But what I found most interesting is that very little is written about prostate cancer and the relief of urinary blockage symptoms that most men experience as they age. I’m talking about weak stream, hesitation, delay, failure to empty your bladder completely, frequency, getting up at night, etc. As most men know, these problems become more prevalent as we age and are usually associated with an enlarging prostate gland.
Ok, so that’s one thing, and prostate cancer is another. But where do the two meet? I admit that I hadn’t thought about this at all. Nobody seems to talk about this. When you look at the various treatment options for prostate cancer, I would just like to point out that every one of them leaves the gland in the body, except for one – surgery. So what? Why does this matter? Well it may matter to some men a lot, because surgery completely removes the blockage, the clamp, the thing that is stifling the flow of urine out of your body. The surgeon removes the prostate gland and then reconnects the urethra (canal that carries urine out of the body) to the bladder. It’s bypass city.
I wrote a post detailing 6 incredible stories of how I pee better after prostate surgery – if you want to read it, click here.
Of course, there are well known risks in prostate removal surgery (radical prostatectomy). Most men experience a loss of urinary control and erectile function immediately after surgery. Under the care of a good surgeon, and if you are eligible for nerve sparing techniques, many men can recover these functions in due time, but there are no guarantees. There are many stories online of men who would rather have their cancer back and rue the day they opted for surgery.
All cases of prostate cancer are different. This is not medical advice for you. You must only take action about your specific case in consultation with a licensed medical doctor.