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Re: Robert Young's Advice

I am a physician survivor.

Some comments on this piece:


3. If you are confused, overwhelmed, and depressed, you will not be able to learn or think. First try to achieve some degree of equanimity, until you can learn and think. Meditation has been studied in cancer patients, and found to be very helpful. Many traditional religious ministers can be helpful, depending on their orientation, training, and insight. Some psychologists can also be helpful. Ask around, and see what is available. You might initially engage all three, and see what works best for you. You don't have forever to find out.

If you need to take some vacation days to create the time, remember, your life is on the line. Consider taking unpaid leave if necessary; many employers are understanding in this situation.

If you have difficulty getting an appointment in less than a month, explain your situation; if you still can't get in reasonably quickly, ask about a cancellation list, and alternative providers. Fortunately, most prostate tumors move slowly enough to give you some time to make a decision. Still, the sooner you can get started, the better.


7. Statistics, properly understood, do not lie. However our intuitions about probability do not accord with the math. Hence, statistics can be manipulated by the unscrupulous to deceive those who do not understand it, which is most of us. But I think we can trust statistical evaluations in medical research studies. They are read by lots of people who do understand statistics; any deceit would be quickly spotted, and the reputation of the author trashed.


11. Medicine does indeed know how to cure some cancers, including prostate cancer. Not everyone can be cured, but, with optimal treatment, over 80% can be CURED. Period. For low grade tumors, the best treatment produces cure rates a bit over 90%. And some tumors don't even have to be treated, though they do need to be watched.

Those cancers which cannot be cured can usually be slowed down enough that something else will get you first. The most common cause of death in prostate cancer patients is heart attacks. In fact, one research study I read concluded that the most useful thing those treating prostate Ca could do for their patients would be to improve their cardiovascular health! (Most of the patients in that study died of heart attacks.)

12. Cancer will test some as they have never been tested, but this is not always so. Different people respond differently. Depending on your tumor and your equanimity, you might not find it terribly stressful. If you do find yourself stressing out, see 3. above.

13. Never give up or give in! That's one take. But there may come a time when peaceful acceptance offers your best way forward. Would you rather leave fighting, or loving your family?

Re: Robert Young's Advice

Beautifully done. These comments are well thought out and articulated in a 'calm' straightforward manner. Should prove very helpful to many.

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