Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Cancer Touches Everyone

DH and I met up with some friends for a late snack before heading home after work. "M" has been a long-time friend of many years, a great guy with a really sweet wife and six kids (!). He's barely more than 50 years old, so should still have many years left to watch his kids grow.

The kicker is that they usually don't start screening men for
prostrate cancer until they are over 50 but this tumor must
have been present much earlier since he's barely over that age. 

He hadn't been feeling well and went to the doctor for a physical where after many tests they diagnosed that he had prostrate cancer that had metastasized into his bones. Thus - pain. He didn't like his first oncologist, so switched to a different one. But what mystifies DH and me is his 'treatment'.

Instead of aggressively going after the cancer with chemo and radiation therapy, which may or may not work and which would, admittedly, be painful and expensive, he's refusing any chemo at all. He's changed his diet to a vegetarian diet and is pretty much leaving things there.

There is a slightly higher incidence of prostrate cancer in men who
eat a diet heavy in animal fats, so going onto a vegetarian diet isn't
a bad idea. 

I've had friends in the past who went both ways with their cancers - treatment with aggressive means and no treatment except palliative. I can't say which way is better or worse and I know treatments are an individual choice. But with a family that depends on him, I'm quite surprised that "M" isn't going after his cancer with every weapon possible. Just changing his diet seems like attacking an elephant with a blade of grass - just this side of ridiculous if it isn't paired with some surgery and other treatment options. .

I wasn't aware that men have a greater lifetime risk of developing
prostrate cancer than women do breast cancer. I learned something today!
I'm very relieved that DH's last prostrate biopsy came out negative. 

But - it's not me (and hopefully I'll never be faced with this decision). He has every right to dictate his own care parameters. DH and I are just bewildered by his choices. We'll stick by him and his wife, though. That's what friends do.

Have a great Wednesday. My morning looks rather insane, but my afternoon should be a bit calmer. I suspect I'll finally be able to eat breakfast around 10:00 am or so. Crazy day!

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