A selection from:
Men,Women, and Prostate Cancer
Amid all the welcome new attention to prostate cancer and
the promising, if controversial, new medical developments in its
detection and treatment, patients and their female caregivers are
still challenged as much as ever by certain basic problems. It is
these matters, often allowed to lurk in the darkness, that this book
is dedicated to illuminating. Such problems include the following:
It remains extremely difficult to predict how a given case of
prostate cancer will develop and to determine how best to
treat it, which makes each case unique.
The prostate gland itself is one of the least understood parts
of the male anatomy. Its small size and its deeply embedded position within the body complicate research efforts, and scientists
still have many questions about its biological purpose and function, its puzzling tendency to grow increasingly larger as a man
ages, and the reasons why the course of prostate cancer can vary
so much from individual to individual. Adding to the gland's
mystery is the fact that men down through the ages have been so
reluctant to talk about trouble ''down there,'' out of fear, embarrassment, or false bravado.
As a result of all this ignorance and uncertainty, there are
extremely few ''general truths'' about prostate cancer. Each individual case must be considered unique; and, because different,
equally qualified doctors often disagree strongly on how to treat
the same case, patients and their caregivers often need to play a
greater-than usual role in determining for themselves how they
want to handle illness-related matters. Even more so than with
other serious diseases, specific treatment decisions about prostate
cancer must take into account the individual patient's overall
physical condition, emotional well-being, psychological resources,
living situation, and lifestyle preferences.
From the man's perspective, the stress associated with prostate cancer diagnosis and treatment can easily aggravate
stress relating to other psychological issues involving his
manhood and aging.