At the first ever Active Surveillance Convention, a conference I attended back in 2007, many experts openly bemoaned that the word “CANCER” profoundly overstates the significance of Gleason 6 type of prostate cancer. The pathologists at the conference, however, shot down the idea of a name change saying, “Under the microscope it looks like a cancer, so it is cancer.” No one at the conference had a rebuttal so the proposal for a name change was dropped.
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In my last blog I contended that of all the different ways to treat cancer—hormone therapy, chemotherapy, radiation or surgery for example—immune therapy has the greatest potential to save lives: Only the immune system, by its very nature, has the ability to adapt to the many thousands of varieties of cancer. Also, new breakthroughs in understanding how it works have led to real progress inharnessing the immune system to fight cancer.
“No More Unnecessary Biopsies . . . ” The first four words of the sub-title of our book, Invasion of the Prostate Snatchers,” are a clear statement of our objective. I am no fan of biopsies. At the same time I know that a biopsy is an essential diagnostic tool when appropriately used. The problem is that too many doctors schedule an immediate biopsy if there is only a slight rise in PSA, when it would be more appropriate to explore less invasive diagnostic methods first.