We are departing from our typical opening commentary to talk about Ed Souder, a member of our group—and a member of the Greatest Generation. Ed passed away last month from a heart attack at age 91. I had several conversations with Ed before and after his successful proton treatment in 2001. A couple of years ago, I had to twist his arm to get his permission for us to write a Featured Member Story about him. “I was just a soldier doing my job, ” he said. “There’s nothing about me that’s important or interesting.” You be the judge.
Ed was severely wounded by an artillery shell in 1944 and nearly lost his life. He produced a detailed account of his time in the military which is posted on the Internet. Here is an excerpt from the day he was injured:
1600 Hrs: 28 November 1944:
As we reached the outskirts of Geronsweiller, we speeded up and crouched lower to avoid the rain. I looked up to see something and saw men lying in the fields get up and make a dash for cover. It came to me too late that they were under an artillery barrage.
Just then everything went boom; the Jeep jumped to the right and stopped. Sarge and Hairless jumped out as did Ross and Dowd. I saw Ross holding his left arm with blood coming through his fingers. Then I tried to jump out but couldn’t move my left leg, so I rolled to the right, off the Jeep and down into the mud by the right rear wheel.
I tried to get up but couldn’t. I reached down to feel for my left leg—it felt as if it wasn’t there but I touched it. Then I became aware of a terrible burning that I couldn’t fight. God, I was scared. Then Hairless ran up and crouched beside me and asked how I was. I told him I couldn’t move and was paralyzed—hit in the left side. He said, “hang on, and I’ll get you help.” I tried to move but the effort was so terrible. I just dropped my head in the mud face down and cried. I remember listening to the air escape from the tire as some more shells came in. Then there was shouting and grinding of brakes as a Jeep pulled up.
Soon two medics were on my left side with a stretcher. They rolled me over onto my left side, over the wound, and I guess I screamed in pain. They left me flat on my back, loaded me on the rack over the left fender and with Dowd and Ross rear and Weigand standing in the front, clearing traffic, they took off. I grabbed onto the white flag on the fender as each bump hurt me and I know I was praying out loud—Oh God, give me strength to stand the pain. Finally we stopped beside a house. Dowd went in the door and they passed me in through a window after they had pried my fist off the flag. The room had electric lights and shutters on the window. They laid Ross down on a stretcher and fixed his arm. I laid on the floor asking one of the aid men for a shot of morphine.
You can read more about Ed, his life, his military career and his achievements in the “Member Spotlight” section of this month’s newsletter. We have also provided a link to all of his writings on the Internet. It’s a terrific story. Ed Souder is a true American hero. We are proud and honored that he chose to be a member of our group.
To print the BOB Tales newsletter or view the newsletter with a larger font size, click here for the PDF file.
In This Issue
We added 40 new members last month. Our membership represents all 11 proton centers in the U.S. as well as three in Europe and Asia. Members come from all 50 U.S. states and 35 countries. We recently added members from Norway and Tanzania. As we said last month, our members are clearly doing a great job spreading the word about proton therapy. More than 85% of new members identify a BOB member as having either introduced them to proton therapy or having helped with their treatment decision. Keep it up!
The Rolls Royce of Radiation Oncology”
This was the title of a comprehensive article by Brian Lawenda, M.D. in Integrative Oncology Essentials recently. In the article, Dr. Lawenda states that proton therapy is “the most advance radiation therapy technique available.” He notes that more than 73,000 patients have been treated with this technology; that since Loma Linda University Medical Center began treating with protons in 1990, more than 37 proton centers have been built around the world. He listed “25 proton centers either operating, under construction, or planned in the U.S.
What makes proton therapy so unique? Dr. Lawenda explains:
In contrast to conventional X-ray based EBRT (External Beam Radiation Therapy), PBT (Proton Beam Therapy) does not damage healthy tissues beyond the tumor as proton beams stop precisely at the back edge of the tumor due to a unique dose deposition characteristic of protons and other particle-based therapies, called the Bragg peak. X-ray beams, do not deposit their dose at a sharply defined depth in tissue (Bragg peak), so they pass through the tumor without stopping and continue to deposit ionizing radiation into healthy tissues and organs beyond the intended target. Dose deposition beyond the extended target is called 'exit dose' and is not desired. Unlike X-ray based EBRT, PBT does not exhibit any significant exit dose.
Proton Particles’ Journey to the Tumor
Dr. Lawenda describes just how the proton particles are extracted from water molecules, injected into a particle accelerator, sped up to 2/3 the speed of light, guided to treatment rooms using electromagnets, and precisely delivered to the patient’s tumor.
Fewer Complications and Side Effects
He also talks about how and why proton therapy results in significantly fewer complications and side effects, and shows a number of exhibits comparing proton therapy to IMRT. The advantages are clearly evident.
Medulloblastoma: X-ray left, Proton right:
Orbital Tumor: X-ray left, Proton right:
Prostate Cancer: X-ray left, Proton right:
The Bottom Line
The bottom line, according to Dr. Lawenda is that all the data seems to point to the superiority of proton therapy, but the efficacy data still needs to be developed to prove that proton therapy is more effective (i.e. better tumor control), reduces toxicity (complications and side effects) and/or improves patient-reported quality of life. He states, “I am a strong believer that high-quality studies will eventually support these findings for many cancers.”
Click here to read the entire article.
New Imaging Method
for Recurrent Prostate Cancer
We don’t like to think about the possibility of a cancer recurrence. But sadly, for a small number, the cancer returns. Most deal with this successfully and get on with their lives. The key to successfully dealing with a recurrence is locating the cancer activity, which is often outside the prostate.
Thanks to the excellent work by Dr. Eugene Kwon at the Mayo Clinic, there is an advanced, newly-FDA-approved method available for identifying the site(s) of recurrent prostate cancer at a much earlier stage than previously possible.
This new C-ll Choline PET scan allows visualization of very small tumors when the patient’s corresponding PSA is only about 2 ng/ml, about 10x less than previously possible by other imaging techniques! The test is based upon the specific uptake of this tracer by living prostate cancer cells, in the prostate or elsewhere.
The only place in the U.S. that currently offers this new imaging method is the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. While not yet officially-approved by Medicare, claims to Medicare have been accepted, according to Dr. Kwon’s clinical nurse, Diane Mann. For more information, contact Ms. Mann at 507-284-1250 or .
Click here to watch Dr. Kwon’s impressive presentation about this new technology.
We have spoken with Dr. Kwon and found him to be an extremely intelligent, articulate, and caring physician, and we believe he is at the leading edge of an important new technology in the war against prostate cancer.
We will provide further updates on C-ll Choline PET Scan technology as the story unfolds.
The 10 Myths about Proton Therapy
Proton is radiation, and that means I am at risk for secondary cancer from proton treatment later in life, just as I am with IMRT.
This is the eighth in a series of articles on the Ten Most Common Myths about Proton Therapy. Click here to view the first seven myths.
The fact is, radiation is everywhere in the cosmos. It’s in the air, the soil, some foods, water, and sunlight. Our own bodies—muscles, bones, and tissue—contain naturally occurring radioactive elements.
Small amounts of radiation can come from medical X-rays, airport scanners, police speed monitors, radio waves, cell phones, solar flares, and there is even some lingering trace radiation from A-bomb tests of the 1940s and ’50s.
Eighty-two percent of the radiation we are exposed to comes from natural sources, and the most significant natural source is radon gas from the earth. Most of the remaining 18% is from medical diagnosis and treatments, with less than 1% coming from nuclear power and fallout.
Latitude and Altitude Matter
Naturally occurring radiation is stronger at the poles and weaker at the equator according to studies. But even more of a factor is altitude. Cosmic radiation increases with altitude. People who live in Denver at 1,600 m (1 mile) receive nearly twice the dose than those who live at sea level. People who live in Leadville, Colorado at 3,200 m (2 miles) receive more than four times the annual sea level dose of cosmic rays.
We have lots of airline pilots in our group. Some have speculated that the thousands of hours they have spent flying may have contributed to their prostate cancer diagnosis. No studies have ever confirmed this to our knowledge.
The Good and Bad of Radiation
We know that radiation exposure can be harmful. And we also know that radiation can be beneficial. It can destroy cancer (curative) and relieve pain (palliative).
There is one thing about which radiation oncologists, scientists, and physicists agree: The only safe dose of radiation to healthy tissue is a zero dose. So, using radiation in medicine is a double edged sword. Send it to the target and it does its job. Send it to healthy tissue and you run the risk of collateral damage, including the possibility of causing secondary cancers.
The Beauty of Proton
Because of the special characteristics of the proton particle (the Bragg Peak), it can be sent deep inside the body, releasing minimal energy on the way in, and then depositing all remaining energy at the target volume. There is essentially a zero dose beyond the target, or tumor.
X-rays, or photons, which are used in essentially all other forms of radiation treatment (IMRT, CyberKnife, TomoTherapy, RapidArc, etc.), deposit radiation on everything in their path—both on the way to the target, and on the way out of the body. With proton, most of the radiation is deposited on the target volume. With X-rays (photons), most of the radiation is deposited on healthy tissue. It’s that simple.
Protons Clearly Superior
Studies have shown that two to three times less radiation is deposited on healthy tissue with protons than with X-rays. That being the case, the likelihood of secondary cancers is considerably lower with protons than with X-rays. This was confirmed in a study titled, Comparative Analysis of Second Malignancy Risk in Patients Treated with Proton Therapy versus Conventional Photon Therapy, and was presented September 2008 at the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology (ASTRO) in Boston.
No Secondary Malignancies with Protons
In a letter to the Wall Street Journal, Dr. Andrew Lee, from MD Anderson, said,
We’ve also published an analysis comparing IMRT vs. Protons in prostate cancer and the potential impact on 2nd radiation-associated malignancies. We found that proton therapy may decrease the rates of 2nd radiogenic cancers by up to 30-40% compared to IMRT. (Fontenot et. al. IJROBP 2009)
This is corroborated by the clinical experience at Mass General: When they reviewed their 2nd cancer rates with protons, it was significantly lower than the national average with X-rays, and interestingly, the patients who received proton therapy alone (not mixed x-rays and protons) had no 2nd malignancies. (Emphasis added)
Is a secondary cancer possible several years after proton therapy? Theoretically, yes. But, the likelihood is significantly lower than with any other form of radiotherapy. In fact, we have not seen a single case of secondary cancer from protons within our group of 6,400 members, which represents more than half the men in the world who have been treated with protons for prostate cancer.
Next month we will address Myth #9: Eight or nine weeks away from work (or home) is totally unreasonable. I can get alternative treatments closer to home, in a much shorter time period, and get the same results.
In Memoriam—“A Soldier Died Today”
We featured Ed Souder in our January, 2012 BOB Tales. When we first contacted Ed about doing a Featured Member story on him, his first reaction was, “Why? There’s nothing about me that’s important or interesting. I’ve never done anything special.”
On the contrary, Ed is a true American hero, a member of the Greatest Generation, who nearly lost his life fighting for our freedom 70 years ago.
Summarizing Ed’s Story
Ed was inducted into the Army in 1942. He received his infantry training at Camp Swift, Texas. He was trained in setting up long-range communications and the use of the SCR 300 backpack radio used in combat. His trip to Cherbourg, France with 5,000 soldiers in a refitted German luxury liner was memorable. Salt water showers, standing watch, cleaning weapons, bible reading, writing letters home, and considerable sea-sickness were his routine on that voyage. After landing, there was a long march through dense terrain, and then his first job … to dig a latrine.
Ed was transferred to Germany where he saw the returning remains and mangled bodies of his comrades from the front lines.
In Tongeress, Belgium, Ed and his company were met by German buzz bombs. While there, one of Ed’s assignments was to lead General Montgomery to a key battlefield position under enemy fire. General Montgomery was commander of the British 2nd Army, to which Ed’s 102nd was attached at the time.
As a wireman and radio operator, he was among the first American troops fighting inside the German border. On November 28, 1944, Ed was riding in a jeep with four of his buddies when an artillery shell struck. Ed was hit hard in the left hip, buttocks, and spine with shrapnel, which penetrated deep into his body, fracturing his spine and severely tearing away adjoining tissue. He was temporarily paralyzed.
Ed was airlifted to England where he had the first of many surgeries on his spine followed by months of rehabilitation, infections, and other complications. Ed survived that ordeal receiving a Purple Heart, along with a few other medals in the process.
He received a Masters of Music Education after his military service; he became an accomplished organist, taught choir, and had a successful career in real estate as well.
Summarizing Ed’s Story
A New Battle—Prostate Cancer
Later in life Ed was faced with a new battle—prostate cancer—with a PSA of 30! He fought that battle with the same intensity and conviction as his earlier challenges. Treatment at Loma Linda University Medical Center in 2001 took care of the prostate cancer, and Ed went on with his life, and his latest passion, growing orchids.
As an active member of the Orchid Society, Ed was known by many as the “Orchid Man.” While in treatment at Loma Linda he regularly brought orchids to his favorite case manager, Sharon Hoyle, and many of the wives of the men in treatment. Everybody loved this kind, gentle, and humble man … a man who felt he “never did anything special.”
Ed passed away peacefully at his home, surrounded by loved ones, on March 21st at the age of 91.
On the day we learned of Ed’s passing, we came across a poem by Lawrence Vaincourt, titled, “A Soldier Died Today.” Here is an excerpt:
He was getting old and paunchy and his hair was falling fast,
And he sat around the Legion, telling stories of the past.
Of a war that he once fought in and the deeds that he had done,
In his exploits with his buddies; they were heroes, every one.
And 'tho sometimes to his neighbors his tales became a joke,
All his buddies listened quietly for they knew where of he spoke.
But we’ll hear his tales no longer, for ol’ Joe has passed away,
And the world’s a little poorer for a Soldier died today.
He won’t be mourned by many, just his children and his wife.
For he lived an ordinary, very quiet sort of life.
He held a job and raised a family, going quietly on his way;
And the world won’t note his passing, 'tho a Soldier died today.
When politicians leave this earth, their bodies lie in state,
While thousands note their passing, and proclaim that they were great.
Papers tell of their life stories from the time that they were young
But the passing of a Soldier goes unnoticed, and unsung.
Is the greatest contribution to the welfare of our land,
Some jerk who breaks his promise and cons his fellow man?
Or the ordinary fellow who in times of war and strife,
Goes off to serve his country and offers up his life?
He was just a common Soldier, and his ranks are growing thin,
But his presence should remind us, we may need his likes again.
For when countries are in conflict, we find the Soldier’s part
Is to clean up all the troubles that the politicians start.
If we cannot do him honor while he’s here to hear the praise,
Then at least let’s give him homage at the ending of his days.
Perhaps just a simple headline in the paper that might say:
“Our Country is in Mourning; a Soldier Died Today.”
This was Ed Souder.
Ed’s wartime letters and his story, in his own words, can be read here. It’s a powerful story with some “colorful” language; it gives the reader an excellent perspective on the sacrifices our military men and women have made and continue to make to ensure our freedom.
As stated above, Ed Souder is a true American hero. We are proud and honored that he chose to be a member of our group.
BOB Member Says Our Advice Saved His Life
One of our members wrote to tell us an interesting story: When he had his biopsy, which involved 24 samples, he was told there was cancer in one of the samples and it was a Gleason 3+3=6. Because he read our book, he took our advice and had his slides read by another pathologist—one of the premier pathologists listed in the appendix of our book—Dr. Jonathan Epstein at Johns Hopkins.
What he learned both shocked him and brought him some valuable information for which he was grateful. There was cancer in more than one sample and his Gleason score was not 3+3, it was 5+5=10!
Why is this good news? Because the treatment that was ultimately prescribed for him was much more aggressive than it would have been had he been treated as an early stage Gleason 6 patient. He is now a member of our group and his PSA is currently 0.6.
It’s rare when the second opinion is that much different from the first, but it’s not rare for one of the premier pathology labs to differ from the initial pathology reading. We have seen many cases where a 3+3 was found to be a 3+4 or a 4+3, and we have seen cases where a 4+4 was found to be a 3+4 or a 3+3.
In two instances, men who followed our advice learned that there was no cancer at all in their prostates. One was scheduled for surgery. One of these men wrote a review of our book and posted it on Amazon.
The reading of pathology slides is subjective at best. It’s not uncommon for two different pathologists to report different Gleason scores when prostate cancer is diagnosed. It is important to know the “true” score so your treatment protocol can be properly designed. Under-treating can result in a recurrence, and over-treating could result in damaging side effects.
The book, “How Doctors Think,” by Jerome Groopman, M.D. documents numerous cases of physician errors in both testing and in interpreting test results. Dr. Groopman’s data shows that as many as 15 percent of all diagnoses are inaccurate. It’s always wise to get a second or third opinion.
Pat Greany (Tallahassee, FL ) commented on our story, “One More Reason to Avoid Surgery—Complications Can Be Severe,” in last month’s BOB Tales:
A friend of mine had a prostatectomy yesterday by a well-regarded da Vinci doc. Turns out, he was in surgery for five hours and then had to spend 3 1/2 hours in recovery because they couldn’t awaken him! Fortunately, he eventually did wake up, but it was a close call. I tried to get him to consider proton therapy; gave him a copy of Bob’s book; and spent time going over everything with him, to no avail. The sad thing is that he still has at least a 20% chance of a recurrence within about five years! Maybe he’ll consider proton therapy then!
Gordon Lindberg (Rio Verde, AZ) sent us a copy of the Johns Hopkins Health Alert that reported 50 – 60% of men suffer from serious incontinence after surgery, commenting on how much better the results are with proton therapy. Here are some excerpts from his letter:
I was diagnosed with prostate cancer at age 85 and fortunately nobody would operate on me because I was too old. I had a Gleason score of 4+3=7 and had no intention of watching and waiting while the cancer grew. Fortunately, I heard about proton at Loma Linda and decided to go there instead of doing IMRT locally. Dumb luck. I am now 87 with PSA of 0.2 and no other problems.
I disagree vehemently with Johns Hopkins recommendation to stop PSA testing at age 75. I was fortunate Loma Linda took me at that age.
David Melton (Adairsville, GA) sent us a “thank you” and an update on his health:
Thank you for keeping all of us updated on proton therapy. It has been 8 years since I went to LLUMC for my prostate cancer treatment—it was the best decision that I have made for this life. My PSA went from 11.5 to .3. Every 6 months I get it checked and it is always at .3. I was only 45 when I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Take care and God bless!
Stan Kasperski (Round Rock, TX) sent a special thank you to Bob:
I just wanted to take this opportunity to tell you that I thank you personally for taking, not only the time and energy to get the “customer” comments on various prostate cancer treatment modalities, but to then prepare and publish a book to that end. You penetrated deeply into the myriad levels of all the various ways to deal with prostate cancer. You are a beacon of light in the fog of dealing with this malady. I think I will lift an arm and proffer a drink to you this evening, my friend. You are my hero.
Bob Marckini and Deb Hickey
to Visit LLUMC May 22nd
Celebration of the Auslen Challenge Match, Loma Linda, CA
When: May 22, 2013 at 5:00 p.m.
Where: LLUMC Wednesday Night Meeting and Celebration of the Completion of the Auslen Challenge Match, Coleman Pavilion, Wong Kerlee International Conference Center, 11175 Campus Street
Details: The event will be hosted by Dr. Lynn Martell. There will be a celebration of the Auslen challenge success with a $1.5 million check presentation to Dr. Slater. Dr. Richard Hart and Bob Marckini will also speak. A buffet dinner will be served.
RSVP by May 15 : Contact Jessica Rorick at 909-558-3555 or .
More Upcoming Loma Linda Comes to You/BOB Reunions
When: June 13, 2013, golf tee time at 9:00 a.m., dinner at 5:30 p.m.
Where: Golf at the Chehalem Glenn Golf Course, 4501 E. Fernwood Road, Newberg ($50/player) and dinner at the Portland Adventist Medical Center, 10123 S.E. Market Street, Portland ($15/person)
Details: Dr. Lynn Martell will give a proton update at the dinner.
RSVP: For more information or to register, contact Gary D. Brown at or call 503-538-8885.
6th Annual Proton Golfers Alumni
Lake Tahoe/Carson City, NV
When: July 29 – August 1, 2013
Where: Genoa Lakes Golf Club and Resort in the Lake Tahoe/Carson Valley area
Details: The event is open to all alumnus and guests; golfing is not required. For more information including fees, resort information and important details; click here to view the event flyer.
RSVP by May 1 : Stephen Weitzman: Home: 775-267-4600, Cell: 909-437-5899, .
Recent Loma Linda Comes to You/BOB Reunion
A reunion was held last month in Torrance, CA. Attended by 38 BOB members, spouses and guests, the meeting featured an update on LLUMC by Dr. Richard Hart, President of Loma Linda Health. Accompanied by Paul Arceneaux and Randy Possinger from the office of philanthropy, and Karen Martell, Dr. Lynn Martell shared video presentations by grateful proton patients who praised their Loma Linda experience in humorous song and verse.
The Torrance meeting also kicked off the establishment of regional proton alumni groups. Proton Advisory members, Dan Fitzgerald and Ed Solomon, were introduced as the group coordinators, and will facilitate reunions and other social events to keep local BOB members and proton supporters in close contact with each other.
Shingles—A Disease That Should Be Taken Seriously
Did you know?
The Shingles vaccine is painless and it is about 60% effective in preventing the disease. Also, if you are diagnosed with shingles after being vaccinated, the symptoms are typically much milder than if you hadn’t been vaccinated.
Bob Marckini and his wife, Pauline were vaccinated last month. They encourage all members to talk with their doctors about shingles vaccinations.
Red Meat Risk Factors for Heart Disease
Eating red meat increases your risk for heart disease, metabolic syndrome, many cancers, and stroke. And, it takes only a little to do a lot of damage. Why is red meat so harmful? There is artery-clogging saturated fat and high salt content in processed meats. Both may accelerate the production of cell-damaging free radicals and increase your blood pressure, the main cause of stroke.
So why risk it? Especially when there are so many other healthy proteins to eat:
Here are excerpts from the latest reviews posted on Amazon:
The Gift of a Lifetime! April 25, 2013, by J.A.K. “Sumreknot”
After wading through many books, documents, and the Internet, we came across this life-saving book. I read the book first and then gave it to my husband. Halfway through, he said, “We are going to Loma Linda!” Of course it wasn’t that simple; there was more research and planning. Now five years later, he is alive and kicking, with no side effects at all. This book explains precisely what the procedure entails. Thank you, Mr. Marckini!
You Can Beat Prostate Cancer: And You Don’t Need Surgery to Do It, April 24, 2013, by Survivor
You just learned you have prostate cancer? Then this book is a must. Buy it immediately and read it cover to cover. Have your spouse read it. Then share it with other men. Your doctor may want to cut, wait, plant seeds, or use X-ray radiation treatment. None of these can compare to proton radiation treatment and Bob Marckini will tell you why. My brother-in-law, my neighbor, and I checked all the options and determined proton was the only way to go and have never looked back. Bob Marckini tells the story of prostate cancer treatment very well. Buy the book today!
On the Verge of Surgery Until I Read This Book , April 17, 2013, by kmac
You are told you have prostate cancer. Then you are presented with a few treatment options and told to go home and decide what you want to do. None of the treatment options sounded ideal, but after studying I decided to have robotic surgery and take a chance and hope for the best when it came to ED and incontinence. Then I picked up Bob’s book and read it in one afternoon. It offered a possible treatment that did not come with all the side effects of surgery. Still not totally convinced, I called a couple of the hospitals that offer proton treatment and asked if I could have the names of some men that had gone through it. The people I spoke with were pleased with the outcome of their proton treatment and the lack of side effects. Try to get that kind of list from a surgeon! Everyone has to make their own choice, but please inform yourself as best as you possibly can prior to picking a treatment option.
Was Bob’s book helpful to you?
Please help us to spread the word and educate others about proton therapy. If you found Bob’s book to be helpful in making your proton treatment decision, please post a review on Amazon—even just a sentence or two about how it made a difference in your life!
Once you are logged into your Amazon account, click here and click the “Create your own review” button. Don’t forget to rate the book from 1 to 5 stars!
Don’t have an Amazon account? No problem. Sign up here—it’s free.
Available in Amazon’s Kindle format, Barnes & Noble’s NOOK Book, and Apple iBook format
Buy the Kindle version now for $9.99.
Don’t have a Kindle? No problem—just download the free Kindle reading software for your smart phone or tablet.
Buy the NOOK Book version now for $9.99.
Don’t have a NOOK? No problem. Just download the free NOOK reading app for your Android smart phone, tablet, or iDevice.
Buy the book from the iTunes store for $9.99 for your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch in iBook format.
Proceeds from book sales are used to help fund BOB efforts and to support proton therapy research.
Ask about our bulk discount for hard copy books for anyone interested in spreading the word about proton therapy:
What Should You Tell Your Sons About Prostate Cancer?
Many of our members have sons. And close male relatives are at higher than normal risk of prostate cancer. We frequently tell members to encourage their sons to get a baseline PSA test no later than age 40 and then annual tests thereafter. Additionally, according to Men’s Health magazine, there are things our sons can do to help prevent, or at least delay prostate cancer growth.
“Maintaining a healthy weight is good for preventing chronic disease,” says Slobhan Sutcliffe, PhD., who researchers the epidemiology of prostate disease at the Washington University school of medicine. Research has shown that men with the most visceral fat—the belly blubber that surrounds the organs in your core—also had the highest risk of prostate cancer. Apparently visceral fat produces inflammatory substances that promote the growth of cancerous cells.
Men’s Health suggests increasing your intake of fruits and vegetables that are high in anti-oxidant flavonoids, such as oranges, grapefruit, strawberries, onions, and greens. The flavonoids lower your risk of aggressive prostate cancer according to new research from the University of South Carolina.
Increasing your exercise also helps. High intensity interval training is a proven way to reduce visceral fat.
More on Testosterone Supplements
We are often asked the following questions: “Do many BOB members take testosterone supplements?” and “Do you know if taking testosterone can stimulate the growth of prostate cancer?” We reported on this in our August 2012 issue.
Doctors’ Opinions Differ
The bottom line is that doctors differ widely on the issue of whether or not a man who was treated for prostate cancer should take testosterone supplements. One thing they agree on is this: If all the cancer was removed or destroyed, there should be no problem taking testosterone supplements. But here’s the rub: There can be some prostate cancer cells left behind. If this is the case, then increasing testosterone levels can possibly stimulate prostate cancer growth.
What Dr. Myers Thinks
In one of his recent weekly videos, Dr. Charles “Snuffy” Myers—noted prostate cancer specialist—addressed this subject. He confirmed that increasing testosterone levels will not stimulate prostate cancer growth if all the cancer has been destroyed. He stated that taking testosterone supplements can decrease blood HDL levels—High-density lipoprotein (good cholesterol) —and this can be a problem for men with cardiovascular disease.
He also noted that for older men (over 80), there can be instability problems resulting in falls. Increasing testosterone levels can often help, especially if combined with increased exercise, and he is in favor of testosterone supplements in these cases. Click here to watch Dr. Myers’ video.
Years Post Treatment and PSA Holding Steady?
Some doctors feel that if you are several years post treatment for prostate cancer and your PSA is holding steady, you can take testosterone supplements, but you should monitor your testosterone levels and try to maintain a reading that is in the lower half of the normal range, which is 250 – 1100 ng/dl.
The jury is still out on whether it’s wise for a man who has prostate cancer to take testosterone supplements. Each case is different and it’s always wise to check with your doctor on the advisability of taking testosterone supplements.
Another Reason to Avoid Surgery
According to a Johns Hopkins Health Alert, “50 to 60% of all men suffer from serious incontinence after surgery for prostate cancer.” According to the article, for most it’s temporary, and for some it persists.
We have read in other journals that as many as one-third of men who have surgery for prostate cancer are left permanently incontinent.
Dr. Charles Myers Once Again Blasts the USPSTF
In a recent weekly video on the subject of active surveillance, noted prostate cancer specialist and survivor, Dr. Charles “Snuffy” Myers, called-out the United States Preventative Service Task Force for their recommendation to stop PSA testing because, they say, it leads to over treatment. He noted that 20,000 to 30,000 men each year develop aggressive diseases that will kill them if undetected.
Myers’ Position is the Same as Ours
The problem is not over diagnosing prostate cancer, it’s over treating. Surgically removing the prostate of an early stage, Gleason 6 prostate patient with indolent disease is unconscionable, yet it’s being done every day.
There is a place for aggressive treatment and there is a place for active surveillance. But, according to Dr. Myers, the USPSTF’s recommendation to stop PSA testing all together is “idiotic.” His advice? “Don’t pay attention to the USPSTF recommendation.”
Safety Tip—Back Into That Parking Spot
If you go to the UPS training school in South Holland, Illinois, you’d notice that every car in the lot is parked nose out. The logic: If you back out of a spot, you can’t see what’s behind your car or around the cars next to you. Driving forward out of a spot provides a clearer view of everything in front of you.
Want To Know How Long You Will Live?
Check out the Life Expectancy Calculator from Northwestern Mutual life Insurance Company and answer a few questions. It will tell you how long you are likely to live. It’s interesting to watch your life span go up and down as you answer each question.
So, click here to find out how long you are likely to live. Bob tried it, and it looks like he’s going to be around until age 100. Deb also tried it and she’ll stick around until she’s 93.
Too True to be Funny
The next time you hear a politician use the word '”billion” in a casual manner, think about whether you want the “politicians” spending your tax money. A billion is a difficult number to comprehend, but one advertising agency did a good job of putting that figure into some perspective in one of its releases:
Last Month's Brain Teaser
What is special about the following sequence of numbers?
8, 5, 4, 9, 1, 7, 6, 10, 3, 2, 0
Answer: The numbers are in alphabetical order: Eight, five, four, nine, one, seven, six, ten, three, two, zero.
Winner: BOB member David Baumchen of Camano Island, WA was treated at LLUMC in 2005. He tells us, “My PSA since treatment started at 1.31 and it’s down to 0.24 today.”
While in treatment, David learned how to geocache (an outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices). It has been his favorite hobby ever since. In fact, since his proton treatment, David has traveled to 26 countries to find geocaches and is considered the “#1 geocacher” in Washington State.
David is also an active volunteer for many organizations including The National Wildlife Federation, Marine Mammal Stranding Network, and Camano Island Backyard Wildlife Habitat Project. And if he wasn’t busy enough, his other hobbies include volleyball, kayaking, hiking, cross-country skiing and collecting Geocoins. Sounds like proton didn’t slow David down at all.
In the photo above, David was in the process of “going for the most difficult of caches—rated a 5* 5* difficulty terrain.” He is shown “roped out” under an old abandoned, steel railroad bridge in the mountains over a stream 500 feet below. BOB members are certainly not boring.
Congratulations, David. We hope you enjoy your signed copy of Bob’s book.
NEW Brain Teaser
A wealthy man tells his two sons to race their horses to a distant city to see who will inherit his fortune. He tells them that the son whose horse crosses the finish line last will win. The brothers begin the race and the closer they get to the finish line, the slower they go; neither wants to cross the finish line first. So, they ask a wise man for advice. After hearing the advice, the sons jump on the horses and race as fast as they can to the finish line.
What advice did the wise man give them?
Answer next month: The first person to send an e-mail to with the correct answer gets a signed copy of Bob's book. No cheating by using the Internet!
Lawrence Peter Berra played Major League Baseball for 19 years for the New York Yankees. He played on 10 World Series Championship teams, is a MLB Hall of Famer and has some awe-inspiring stats. His name is consistently brought up as one of the best catchers in baseball history, and he was voted to the Team of the Century in 1999.
Amazing accomplishments aside, they probably aren’t how you know Lawrence. You know him as Yogi, a nickname given to him by a friend who likened his cross-legged sitting to a yogi. Yogi is famous for his fractured English, malapropisms and sometimes nonsensical quotes. He’s closing in on 86, and there seems to be no end to his fans’ love for him.
Here are a few Yogi Berra quotes that will make you shake your head and smile.
And our favorite:
Two elderly ladies were enjoying the sunshine on a park bench in Miami. They had been meeting at that park every sunny day, for over twelve years, chatting and enjoying each other’s friendship.
One day, the younger of the two ladies, turns to the other and says, “Please don’t be angry with me, dear, but I am embarrassed. After all these years—what is your name? I am trying to remember, but I just can’t.”
The older friend stares at her, looking very distressed, says nothing for two full minutes, and finally with tearful eyes, says, “How soon do you have to know?”
Quote of the Month
“Love your neighbor as yourself, but don't take down the fence.”
Things We Keep
I grew up with practical parents: A mother, God love her, who washed aluminum foil after she cooked in it, then reused it. She was the original recycle queen, before they had a name for it, and a father who was happier getting old shoes fixed than buying new ones.
Their marriage was good; their dreams were focused. Their best friends lived barely a wave away. I can see them now—Dad in trousers, tee shirt and a hat, and Mom in a house dress, lawn mower in one hand, and dish-towel in the other.
It was the time for fixing things—a curtain rod, the kitchen radio, screen door, the oven door, and the hem in a dress—things we keep. It was a way of life and sometimes it made me crazy. All that re-fixing, re-heating, renewing … I wanted, just once, to be wasteful. Waste meant affluence. Throwing things away meant you knew there’d always be more.
But then my mother died, and on that clear summer’s night in the warmth of the hospital room, I was struck with the pain of learning that sometimes there isn’t any “more.” Sometimes, what we care about most gets all used up and goes away … never to return. So, while we have it, it’s best we love it and care for it and fix it when it’s broken and heal it when it’s sick.
This is true for marriage, old cars, children with bad report cards, dogs with bad hips, and aging parents and grandparents. We keep them because they are worth it—because we are worth it.
Some things we keep—like a best friend who moved away or a classmate we grew up with. There are just some things that make life important—like people we know who are special. And so, we keep them close!
Low PSAs to all,
Bob Marckini and Deb Hickey
You can download this month’s BOB Tales in PDF Format to your computer by “right-clicking” (“control-clicking” on Mac) and going to the “Save Target As… ” option on the menu that pops up.
NO MEDICAL ADVICE: Material appearing here represents opinions offered by non-medically-trained laypersons. Comments shown here should NEVER be interpreted as specific medical advice and must be used only as background information when consulting with a qualified medical professional.
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