For decades, we men have spent time and money getting PSA blood tests to screen for prostate cancer. I have just finished reading the book by the discoverer of PSA printed in 2014 and will share my review and notes.
The Great Prostate Hoax by Richard J Ablin, PhD and Ronald Piana
Richard J Ablin, PhD is a Professor of Pathology at the U of Arizona college of Medicine, Arizona Cancer center and BIOS institute of Tuscon, Arizona. He discovered Prostate Specific Antigen or PSA.
Ronald Piana, is a writer from Huntington, N.Y.
From the book cover jacket:
“Every year, more than a million men undergo painful needle biopsies for prostate cancer, and upward of 100,000 have radical prostatectomies, often resulting in crippling side effects such as incontinence, impotence, and psychological trauma. But the shocking fact is that most of these men would never have died of this common form of cancer, which frequently grows so slowly that it never even leaves the prostate.”
“In this inside look at the healthcare industry, Dr. Richard J. Ablin exposes how the discovery he made in 1970 of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) was co-opted by the pharmaceutical industry into a multibillion-dollar business. He reveals that his discovery of PSA was never meant to be used for screening prostate cancer: nonetheless, it was patented and eventually approved by the FDA in 1994. …..“The Great Postate Hoax raises provocative questions about the nature of our healthcare and regulatory systems and the drastic human consequences of manipulating science for personal gain. “
From my notes, here are some ominous statements:
P.35 Prostate cancer essentially is a disease of aging. About 40 percent of men between the ages of 40 and 49 have prostate cancer. The rate rises exponentially to almost 70 percent in men between the ages of 60 and 69. After age 70, about 80 percent of men have prostate cancer. The common phrase, “ some men die of prostate cancer, but all me die with prostate cancer” tells the story.
P. 38 On biopsy results: “ A Gleason Score of 6 or less is considered low grade: 7 is intermediate; and between 8 and 10 is high grade” “It is largely subjective”. That is, it is not a digital readout. Different Urologists may give different scores based on ambiguous appearance of cells. P. 210 Dr. Ablin concludes that a Gleason 6 or lower should not be called the “C” word, “cancer”. It causes too much panic and unnecessary treatment.
P.63 The PSA of above 4.0 for serious concern was not determined scientifically. Just arbitrarily. It is also well known that PSA scores are influenced by things like infection, sex previous to the test and bicycle riding. Different labs will get different results.
P 46 “PSA cannot diagnose prostate cancer” “There is no specific level that detects prostate cancer” “PSA test cannot distinguish an indolent cancer from an aggressive cancer”.
The money machine goes on to exploit this illness. Dr. Ablin covers the latest like proton-beam therapy and the da Vinci Surgical System used for treatments that almost always are not necessary.
P-115 Dr. Ablin states the bottom line on prostate treament: “men diagnosed with prostate cancer who had radical prostectomies on average lived no longer than men who opted out of treatment” “there was no evidence that radical prostatectomies extended men’s lives.” For those diagnosed for Prostate cancer lifetime risk is 3%. 97% will live with or without prostate cancer treatment.
This PSA hoax is so typical of money driven American healthcare. Tens of billions of dollars are spent every year on prostate treatments that leave most men worse off without doing them any good.
These are just my notes. Dr. Ablin goes into much detail about how the pharmaceutical and equipment manufacturers are able to drum up demand for their goods without much if any scientific proof. He also shows how the FDA fails to do what it is supposed to do. Read this book for more information.
The prostate hoax is one example of why we spend TWICE per capita on healthcare than Canada, the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and so many others and get nothing for the extra spending.
The big corporations and their millionaire/billionaire owners profit from it. They are draining our economy, injuring us and jeopardizing our economic future.
We need new federal legislation to get the FDA to do its job. We also need federal legislation to mandate that all men are given the facts mentioned above about the true nature of prostate cancer and the treatments. Urologists should show how much everyone is making on any treatments to expose conflicts of interest. Urologists and patients should also sign that this was done before any treatment.
There are ways to lower risk of prostate cancer. It can be done. The Japanese have so little prostate cancer that they hardly know it exists. Diet and exercise that is sufficient to avoid being overweight or obese are how the Japanese do it. Here are a few articles on the subject of prevention of prostate cancer from Dr. Mercola:
There is no big money in the prevention of illness. The big corporations have no use for it. You as an individual and we as a nation need to explore prevention of illness and carry out what we learn. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
DISCLAIMER: This article is not medical advice. It is to help with deciding what to do between doctor and patient.
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