Thursday, February 3, 2011

Must Have Book for Men With Prostate Cancer

If you or a man you know has been diagnosed with prostate cancer, this is one resource you should definitely own. Dr. Gerald Chodak, the author, is an expert in the disease who founded the Midwest Prostate and Urology Health Center in 1999 in, I believe, Chicago. The book is published this year so you know this is up-to-date information

I don't know of any cancer that has so many tough choices involved in selecting treatment (or not) and this book answers all of your questions in easy-to-read format without medical jargon or confusion. There is a glossary in the back and an index. In addition, the table of contents not only tells you the name of each chapter, but also in bullet points what is included in that chapter.

Because prostate cancer can develop quite slowly, sometimes the best course is to do nothing but watch the PSA (prostate specific antigen) level which can be followed with a simple blood test. That is your indicator of how slowly or quickly the cancer is growing. If you decide to proceed with a treatment, and remember it is your choice, this book explains every detail of every treatment. You know how it is done, what to expect, and possible outcomes. You have everything at your disposal to help you make the best decision for you.

The downside of this decision process is that very few controlled studies have been done on the different choices, and Dr. Chodak writes that such studies are necessary for physicians and patients both. The problem is that few men are willing to take part in studies.

In his book, the doctor is clearly in favor of radical prostatectomy (complete removal of the prostate) for most men. The exceptions are men with slow growing disease who don't have a life expectancy of more than ten years, either because of advanced age or because of other disease processes. There are nonsurgical options as well. He is straightforward with information about possible side effects of treatment such as erectile dysfunction and urinary incontinence, as well as others that aren't so traumatic.

The only thing missing from this excellent book in my opinion is drawings of anatomy. Since this is written for patients and their loved ones, they are unlikely to have such drawings at hand unless the urologist has given them appropriate pictures. The descriptions of the anatomy involved are very well done, but pictures would be a great help. I can't help remembering former neighbors whose father had "problems with his prostrates" and it was obvious neither he nor his sons had a clue about it. I do like the charts showing treatments and their side effects clearly.

Again, I urge you to buy this book if you are faced with prostate cancer or your husband or father. Give it to any friends who have the disease. This is vitally important information you need to have in your home.

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