I haven't mentioned my second ebook, Diary of a Prostate Wimp, on this blog as much as I should have. Other things have kept getting in the way - like the writing of the sequel to Grimhilda! which thankfully, is in its last draft (of what feels like the last of several hundred).
Anyway, Prostate Wimp came out at the end of April this year, and I've been considering some of the things that I should point out about it to readers, to give it a better opportunity in the world.
Here are some of the things the book addresses:
If you have any concerns about matters to do with your prostate (here's a list of symptoms from the New Zealand Prostate Cancer Society) talk to your doctor and don't let them put you off. Some doctors can be a bit off-hand about men's issues, and others aren't good at answering questions in sufficient detail. Thankfully I had a very good doctor.
The book focuses on what happened after I'd had a prostate biopsy. The biopsy is done initially to check whether you have any sign of cancer. The current method of biopsy is the transrectal method: through the anus, through the protective skin between the bowel and the prostate, and then chipping off tiny bits of the prostate for inspection. There is increasing concern that this is not a healthy method. Regrettably, in New Zealand at present, this is the main method. There are two articles noted in my book by an Australian journalist, Jason Gale. These are worth reading, even though they're now one and three years old respectively.
Prostate exam [biopsy] deaths from 'superbugs' spur inquiry into cancer tests
Prostate cancer test causing sepsis [infections] spurs biopsy concerns.
Gale is not alone in writing about this issue. I have a number of other similar articles on file, which I'll detail in future blog posts.
In the book, a medical friend of mine expresses considerable concern about the use of a blood test, generally known by the name, PSA. This gives an indication of the degree of enlargement of the prostate - something that is normal in men as they grow older. What it doesn't do is tell the medical people whether you have cancer. When my prostate was shown to be enlarged according to the test (and it was accurate on that point) I was informed by a urologist at the hospital that I could well have cancer, and I needed to have a biopsy. In fact I didn't have cancer, and the biopsy caused problems I could have done without. I detail in the book the case of another friend of mine who had considerably worse experiences than me, as a result of the biopsy and subsequent investigations.
An enlarged prostate is not necessarily a cancerous prostate. An enlarged prostate is a nuisance, and will probably require an operation (the TURP) to remove some of the enlargement. An enlarged prostate causes problems with peeing: it can make it hard to pee, on one hand, and on the other, cause you to go far more often than normal. This still doesn't indicate cancer.
However, it is still necessary to take prostate issues seriously. I'll talk more about this in a later post.