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Prostate Cancer is fatal

MagazineJuly 1995 (Vol. 6 Issue 4)Prostate Cancer is fatal

I was rather concerned by the inferences in your item about prostate cancer in the Update section of WDDTY (vol 5 no 12)

Dear WDDTY:

I was rather concerned by the inferences in your item about prostate cancer in the Update section of WDDTY (vol 5 no 12).

To say that "most prostate cancers are undetected, cause no symptoms and do not contribute to death" may give people a false sense of security about a disease which can be catastrophic and fatal, particularly for younger sufferers.

I lost my husband to this disease, which was extremely painful and rapid, at the statistically early age of 52.

Because of the large number of undiagnosed, symptomless older men with prostate cancer, younger sufferers are still likely to go undetected and untreated, because it is not generally considered to be a disease worth researching a reliable test for. G B Drake, Horsham, W Sussex....

WDDTY replies:

WDDTY too would like to see progress made in the detection and treatment of prostate cancer. However, it is our job to tell our readers the truth about the treatments now at hand, not to suppress material, however distasteful. All the major medical journals concur that no screening tests yet devised are accurate enough to be widely used; and many in medicine agree that the current treatments, such as radical surgery, are so dangerous that most men would be better off doing nothing. At the current state of knowledge, if young men were to undergo screening and radical treatment, you'd only increase the number of deaths to include those who were wrongly treated or killed by surgery or drugs. See WDDTY vol 4 no 1 for more information about alternative treatments and research into nutritional prevention, such as the suggestion that men in their 30s and 40s begin taking regular supplements of essential fatty acids, which are thought to be protective.


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