Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Men Using T for a Cosmetic ‘Fix’ – Playing Roulette with Prostate Cancer

The news that five million American males are now brandishing their tubes of ‘Androgel’ and other testosterone-delivering gels, etc. is not surprising. The post-45 lot seem to believe they’ve found a new lease on life where biceps pump up, and flabby abdominals turn into hardened six-packs. Their brains work better, or so they claim, so what can go wrong?

Well, how about aggressive prostate cancer – then having to get a surgery or radiation treatment that leaves you with having to use penile implants, endless Viagra and penile injections?

It is amazing how many sites one finds on doing a Google search that pooh-pooh any evidentiary connection between testosterone increases and prostate cancer. One site I located actually referred to any such connection as a “myth”. I have news for them: they are living in a fool’s paradise and furthermore are encouraging male readers over 45 into taking immense risks that they’d be better off avoiding.  The truth is that "testosterone fuels prostate cancer growth" and prostate cancer is "the only type of cancer susceptible to testosterone inactivating pharmaceuticals" (According to Dr. Mark Scholz, in 'Invasion of the  Prostate Snatchers', p. 42).

Two nights ago on an ABC News segment on testosterone fixes, a muscle-bound 60+ year old was shown flexing his biceps and bragging about all his energy ….and so on. Hey, great! But I just hope you’re ready when you have to be treated for prostate cancer – whether radiation therapy or a radical prostatectomy leaving you dependent on penile shots, implants or PDE5 inhibitors, or worse, never being able to get it up again because the cancer is so aggressive that you’re put on female hormones. (With large breasts you will want to hide, to boot).

Dr. John P. Mulhall, author of an academic monograph entitled: "Sexual Function in the Prostate Cancer Patient," also wrote a less technical book for actual prostate cancer patients and their significant others, entitled: "Saving Your Sex Life: A Guide for Men with Prostate Cancer". He makes clear the extent men will have to go to in a process of “penile rehabilitation” to regain sex lives after prostate cancer. In this case, sex lives that can be hampered not only by erectile dysfunction, but painful orgasms and dry ejaculations – even if they do take enough Viagra or penile shots to get the machinery working.

As if that isn’t enough to terrify any macho fool idiot into halting an enhanced T -regimen unless absolutely necessary, there is the prospect of surgical error leading to infection (c. diff.)  and vesicularectal fistula such as reported  by Dr. George Rinaldi on p. 20 of 'Invasion of the Prostate Snatchers'. Rinaldi was not one of the lucky 50% who emerge from radical prostatectomy relatively unscathed. He ended up farting through his penis and saddled with other complications before having to get a colostomy!

Apart from such extreme consequences, something like 50% end up wearing diapers for the rest of their days. This is possible because in the course of the prostatectomy (the most frequently chosen treatment) the urethra has to be sliced in two different places (since it passes through the prostate) then the base of the bladder has to be resected to the remaining part of the urethra excised from the prostate base.

One problem with the above is the response that “it won’t happen to me” – resorting to the exceptionalist meme. But I have news for these guys – it can happen to you unless you’re lucky enough to get the skilled hands of a surgeon that can minimize the collateral damage. Oh, and if you’re thinking about using that fancy dancy da Vinci surgical robot to do it, think again. Accumulating evidence discloses this thing will actually produce worse results unless – I repeat – unless, the prospective surgeon using it has at least 600 such operations under his belt. You really want to take a chance with some clown who's only done 12 or even only 100? Good luck on that!

Radiation treatments, which many opt for instead of surgery, are also dependent on the soundness of the center's treatment planning system and the skill, experience of the radiation oncologists delivering the doses. One thing you don’t want is an excessive dose of radiation which occurs in what’s called an “administration error” which can leave your bowels suppurating and your bladder in a mess, or ulcerating. Oh, and if you’re game for that new method using a giant linear proton machine, just be sure the oncologists administering the treatments don’t have a “geographical miss” – where the proton beam misses the cancer site totally and uh, goes through your bowel or bladder instead! As for a geographical miss hitting your penis instead, well we won’t go there, but it could make a clever horror flick!

Apart from incontinence, the greatest risk that surgical patients face post-op is loss of erectile ability. .The incipient damage is called "atrophy" which increases in probability the longer a patient goes without erection post-surgery. (Mulhall, p. 98) Atrophy is, in fact (ibid.):

"a scarring of the erectile tissue, and if the erectile tissue scars, the patient will never get his own erection back and will always struggle with medication".

Dr. Mulhall goes on to note (ibid.) that "the incidence of erectile tissue damage, as measured by the presence of venous leak is very uncommon before the fourth month after surgery. However, at eight months after surgery it "occurs in about 30% of men and at one year 50% of men".

If any former Mr. T-using Muscleman has these effects post -surgery, and is also unable to sustain enough blood flow he has another little complication to look forward to: a misshapen penis! Mulhall invokes the "use it lose it" saying here. In some cases, indeed, prolonged disuse engenders organs which are badly misshapen (bent as in a U-shape) and essentially unusable because of unequal scarring in different tissues.

Any guy seriously thinking of aping the muscle-bound CEO spotlighted on ABC News (in his T-regimen) would be advised to watch the video below first and pay close attention! Note the particulars of treating low testosterone, including the fact: a) testosterone can vary during the day so the time you get the blood test is critical, and b) the low testosterone can be due to multiple other causes than natural, including stress, fatigue, diabetes or other hormonal imbalances.

If a guy has no T-problems and just wants to “muscle up” to look better, I say just be prepared for what’s coming later. It might also help to imagine yourself long past the cancer treatment stage when your dick is U-shaped, your breasts are bigger than Mariah Carey’s (so much you want to hide from your wife) and you have to wear giant diapers just to go to the corner 7-11.

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