08 Jan A US study says #PSA screening serves no purpose but its only half the story!!!
Recent results from a study carried out by Washington University School of medicine reported in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute claim to show that mass prostate cancer screening does not lower total number of deaths from prostate cancer.
The study makes no mention of consultations with patients or the families of patients!!
There is no mention of what quality of life was like for men who DID NOT have a PSA test!!
There is no mention of quality of life experienced by those men who DID have a PSA test
Well here is my view as I read beyond the headline and the report itself.
I agree when they say that mass screening leads to over treatment but surely the over treatment is not entirely down to the patient but to the Urologist/consultants who recommends aggressive treatment when ‘careful monitoring’ would be a better option after considering the data from the usual series of tests of which PSA is only one of the indicators of prostate problems. The majority of men referred to a Urologist because of an abnormal PSA result will have little or no knowledge of prostate cancer and its risks.
If more men were being actively monitored before being even considered for treatment then the level of over treatment would drop dramatically.
My personal experience is that for the two years prior to my being diagnosed in February 2006 with stage 4 metastatic prostate cancer my diary shows that I was suffering with lower back pain so bad that I was unable to drive anything longer than 20 minutes and my fitness regime was becoming seriously curtailed. I was increasingly tired in the afternoons and my flow was much reduced. All of which I assumed and accepted as the ageing process as I was in my mid 50s and that’s what happens to men of my age!.
My quality of life was gradually deteriorating.
A random PSA test in January 2006 revealed that my PSA was 125 and metastatic prostate cancer the following week a biopsy and scans confirmed aggressive cells, distant mats and with a Gleason score of 9.
Since starting treatment that February and realising that I have limited time left I decide to approach life in a different way by changing the order of my priorities.
I am doing things NOW instead of planing for 2 or 3 years ahead.
It has certainly made life more exciting and pleasurable for me and it is something I wish for all men who have metastatic prostate cancer.
I realise that I have limited time left and that the treatment I am having may not extend my life but at the very least I am doing now many of the things I was saving to do in 10/20 years time.
Of course I do not want to die but at least I will die a little happier because a PSA test gave me the opportunity to do things I consider important to me and my family.
The study presumes that I was going to die anyway from prostate cancer whether I had the PSA test or not but I hope you can see that my life would have continued on at a moderate pace with me putting things off until later and then when the prostate cancer advanced rapidly as it does in the later stages I would be left with regrets of not doing the things I had put off for myself and my family.
Remember the fact that prostate cancer begins in the prostate gland where it is treatable and mostly curable before it leaves the gland.
We know the men at Highest Risk – Afro/Caribbean Americans and men with a family history of prostate cancer, men who are diagnosed because they have symptoms are usually diagnosed too late for a cure to be possible.
Why are we not providing these men and their families with the information about the risks and benefits of a PSA test for them?
We need a Worldwide campaign of awareness and provision of information rather than the disjointed contradictory efforts that prevail at present.
With this information the man will have the best chance of making an informed decision about his own health. ‘No decision about me without me’ (Andrew Lansley)
If it were possible to ask the 11,000 UK men that died of prostate cancer in the last 12 months they and their families would all say they wish they had been diagnosed at a stage when their cancer had a chance to be cured.
The red sock campaign that I started in 2007 is all about raising the awareness of prostate cancer, I research not only treatments but also patients and carers views, I work as a volunteer in a Hospice so that I can better understand pain management and end of life issues.
I am just one man but I am passionate about what I believe in and that is a properly managed testing of men from the age of 40 being the minimum essential if we are to tackle the most prevalent (non skin) cancer and the second biggest cancer killer of men (One man every hour).
I do what I do because I want my three sons and two grandsons to have a better chance of avoiding prostate cancer than I had and more than that I want the sons and grandsons of families throughout the World to be aware of this dreadful disease.
The National Stats office say that between 1998 and 2023 the population of the UK will have risen by almost 10 million of which there will be an additional 6.9 million people over the age of 65 (current retirement age) we need these people to work until 70 or even 80 because the working age population by 2023 will not be able to support this country and so we must treat the illnesses that currently prevent them from working at 70 or even 80 and for men that means eliminating PROSTATE CANCER.