Friday, December 23, 2011
Why I'm Not Getting a Prostate Biopsy
A few months ago, the results of a routine blood test showed that I had a high PSA count. My doctor suggested that I should see a urologist to "discuss" further test to see if I had prostate cancer.
I made arrangements to see a urologist and he did a digital test which did not indicate prostate cancer. However, he did another blood test which again indicated that I had a high PSA count. He told me "If you do have prostate cancer, at your age (what, I'm old art 70?) you will probably die of something else before you die of prostate cancer." He then asked "Do you want to continue?"
I asked him what my options were. He said he would take a biopsy of my prostate gland which would be twelve pieces of meat from my prostate gland. I wasn't too thrilled about this procedure because of the risk of infection. When I was seventeen years old I almost died of a staph infection that I contacted through a routine hernia operation. I was in and out of the hospital for six months. Three surgeries later I was finally free of the staph infection. Since that time I have always been leary of hospitals. The risk of infection is just so great. That was especially brought home to me when an older cousin of mine died of a staph infection she contacted at the hospital.
I reluctantly agreed to the biopsy procedure. However, a few days later I called and cancelled the appointment.
I started to ask around. My cousin was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He was going to have his prostate removed until he found out he didn't have prostate cancer when he took his X-rays to "Dr. Magic Hands" to get a second opinion. That doctor told him that he didn't have prostate cancer but had prostatitis, which was not cancer but just an infection of the prostate gland. He went back to his original doctor, who was none to happy that he went to a second doctor. His original doctor, upon further examination of my cousin's X-Rays, reluctantly agreed that they had misread the X-rays. EXCUSE ME? Man oh man.
I talked to other people who have had successful treatment for prostate cancer with minimal or little side effects. Then I talked to my uncle who doesn't have control over his peeing since he went through the seed implant treatment.
So you see folks, it's a mixed bag. I've been struggling with a decision whether or not to have the biopsy and what flows from that or else just let this thing go and either die of "something else", prostate cancer or just plain Old Age. I just haven't felt comfortable with the track I was on to getting the biopsy. I was getting a bad feeling about it. My intuition (which has ALWAYS BEEN RIGHT IN THE PAST) was saying "DON'T DO IT!"
As the days crept closer to my appointment for the biopsy procedure on January 6th, 2012; I'm dreading that I'm going to get myself snared in the same trap I was in back in 1959 when I couldn't get rid of that staph infection. I had to make a decision so I could go on with my life.
Last night I made that decision. I'm not going to do it and here are the reasons why:
This is why I have decided not to get a prostate biopsy:
Prostate Biopsy Side EffectsBecause Prostate cancer is common in men, many doctors recommended testing for it even in the absence of clear symptoms. Screening is usually done to most men at the age of 40 and above. However, many experts disagree whether this screening is helpful or not.
In theory, screening offers the advantage of finding prostate cancer early. But prostate cancer is a slow growing cancer; it often never causes symptoms or death. Often times, using conventional methods to treat early cancer can prove more damaging than leaving the cancer undetected.
Even though biopsy is regarded as the major way to detect cancer, prostate biopsy side effects far outweigh the benefits of this detection. And above all, it’s not 100% reliable in detecting cancer because it takes a very small sample of your tissues.
To begin with, biopsy is invasive and damaging. The biopsy procedure involves needles, scalpels (knife) and other such instruments to remove a small piece of your living tissues from the prostate gland for microscopic examination and evaluation. Tissue injury occurs because an excision made in the prostate.
Bleeding is a regular, well-known side effect experienced after the procedure. You may see blood in the semen, urine or stool. In some cases it lasts for weeks, but at other times it can take months to stop. But prostate biopsy side effects don’t stop at bleeding.
Another common downside is urinary problems. Since the prostate gland is located and related to the urinary tract, there is a good chance something may happen that will affect your urinary system. Common urinary side effects of prostate biopsy include incontinence and dribbling.
And if it gets worse, you may also end up with a catheter or in diapers for a long time. Afterward, removal of the catheter will depend if you’re able to recover well. Patients are also advised to refrain from any heavy lifting and vigorous activities to prevent an increase in pressure. Ambulation (walking) should also be minimal after a biopsy so as to prevent further pain and discomfort.
One of the most annoying side effects of prostate biopsy is how it affects your sex life; most men are advised to refrain from any sexual activity for several weeks, sometimes months. Erection is difficult for some because of damage in the tissues.
Another major problem with biopsies is that each time you have a biopsy, it tends to increase the level of your PSA so it’s very easy to get into a spiral of biopsies, ever-increasing PSA and worry. Plus multiple biopsies can do you serious harm.
Prostate biopsy is an invasive procedure, a number of side-effects and symptoms would always occur after the procedure. Some clients are able to cope up well after the procedure, but some will not.
Please feel free to get in touch with us using the Question Form and ask any question specific to your prostate health. Our prostate experts will reply soon with a specific response tailored to your conditions.