A treatment-selection guide for the savvy prostate cancer patient.
Editor and author Scholz’s (co-author: Invasion of the Prostate Snatchers, 2010) layman’s guide to prostate cancer aims to help men to understand the severity of their ailment and to create a “personalized treatment plan” in concert with their physicians. The author is the executive director of the Prostate Cancer Research Institute and a physician who’s treated prostate cancer for more than 20 years, and he’s joined by a large cohort of other oncology experts, each of whom contributes chapters that define and discuss the “basic components” of prostate cancer diagnosis (including PSA [prostate specific antigen] levels, a Gleason score, prostate scans, and body scans). The crux of the guide, the “Five Stages of Blue,” classifies newly diagnosed patients as either low-, intermediate-, or high-risk (Sky, Teal, or Azure, respectively) and veteran patients as either having a relapse (Indigo) or metastasis (Royal). Readers can skip ahead to the chapters that are most pertinent to their stage. The book’s overall goal is to allow men to make prudent treatment decisions—and, especially, to help them avoid potentially irrevocable damage to their quality of life due to unnecessary surgery or radiation treatment. Most prostate cancer patients are referred to surgeons (primarily urologists); according to author Ralph Blum, there are fewer than 20 oncologists who specialize exclusively in this type of cancer, so this guide is necessary and useful. The multiple experts successfully provide context in patient-friendly but not overly simplistic terms. The book’s pragmatic and systematic consideration of treatment options and risks will allow readers to make educated decisions. In short, the guide accomplishes what it set out to do: it “forewarn[s] and forearm[s]” patients about “industry biases” and “less-than-fully informed” physicians.
A practical, comprehensive, and authoritative work.