Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Let angels prostrate fall

I think I have cancer envy. Lately, it’s been colon cancer (see previous post) and prostate cancer that have hogged the headlines. This is partly a result of new research published in scientific journals that’s been picked up by health reporters. This glut of news on specific forms of cancer is also related to the sheer numbers of people involved. In men, the incidence of prostate cancer is second only to lung cancer. To call it “sexy” is deeply ironic. Let’s just say it’s relatively common.

Since I’m on a roll with this “cancer of the day” routine, here’s an article that appeared in today’s Wall Street Journal about screening options for prostate cancer. It provides some practical information. You can make silly jokes about colon cancer, as Dave Barry does, because the organ does not—ahem—define us as men. Potty humor makes us laugh; prostates do not. If anything, they make us pucker.

The message in this WSJ article is that, once again, we should be vigilant in tracking cancers that are partially avoidable. For the colon, get a colonoscopy if you're 50 or over. For the prostate, watch your PSA and have your doc give you an annual DRE. As for the skin, well, I’ve written about this before: minimize your sun exposure, and have an annual skin check by a dermatologist. Don’t be dumb about this stuff. There are no guarantees with cancer, but should you be unlucky, you can minimize treatment and extend your life by discovering it early.

And, no, the AMA did not pay me to write this.

P.S. Years ago, when Diagnostic Imaging was launching an international edition, the editor I hired to direct the magazine chose a cover story on technological advances in prostate imaging. Good editorial judgment, I thought. Unfortunately, cover copy was not proofed well, and the premier issue appeared with a 48-point headline boldly asking, “What’s new in prostrate imaging?” We all fell to our faces over that one.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I love my prostrate too. Good one.